George Bryan Brummel, a British military officer, loves Lady Margery, the betrothed of Lord Alvanley. Despite her own desperate love for Brummel, she submits to family pressure and marries ... See full summary »
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George Bryan Brummel, a British military officer, loves Lady Margery, the betrothed of Lord Alvanley. Despite her own desperate love for Brummel, she submits to family pressure and marries Lord Alvanley. Brummel, broken-hearted, embarks upon a life of revelry. He befriends the Prince of Wales and leaves the army, becoming subsequently the best-known rake and decider of fashion in Europe. As his affairs flourish, so does his disdain for his benefactor, the Prince. Eventually Brummel falls into disfavor, and it is only Lady Margery who has any chance of helping him. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Warner wanted to make a name for themselves so they went all out with this lavish production that features a terrific performance from John Barrymore. He plays the title character, a poor man who has the woman (Mary Astor) he loves taken away from him because of his low standing in society. Heart-broken, Beau sets out to use his charm and wit to get back at the society who ruined his life. Have you ever watched a big-budget movie and wonder where all the money went to as it's obviously not showing on screen? Well, that's certainly not the case here as one can't help but be impressed with the magnitude of this film. The sets, costumes and production values are all extremely high and this helps keep the film moving even when the story isn't doing much. I think the biggest flaw with the movie is its 128-minute running time, which leads to some dead space here and there. The story itself isn't all that ground-breaking even for this era so I'm guessing the main reason for the longer running time was just to give the film a more "epic" feel. With that said, this is still a very impressive movie. As I said earlier, the massive sets are extremely impressive and one can't help but get caught up in their sheer beauty. The images of the costumes alone makes one really focus in. Just take a look at a sequence towards the end when a large number of soldiers are marching. One does wonder what all these extras in these lavish costumes cost the studio. Those familiar with Astor are probably more aware of her sound films so seeing her here, at 18-years-old, was a pretty big eye-opener just because I wasn't use to see her look so young. She is pretty good in the role and handles working next to Barrymore and never gets tramped by him. Willard Louis is extremely good as the Prince of Wales who is the one Beau really goes after in the film. Carmel Myers, Richard Tucker and William Humphrey turn in fine work as well. Alec B. Francis plays the long-time servant and is wonderful. As for Barrymore, he's pure magic here. A lot of people are going to call the performance hammy or stage-bound, which might be fair but from all the movies I've seen of his this one here gave the closest feel of what it might have been like watching him on the stage. He really nails every inch of this character whether it's the poor boy at the start, the rich jerk or the eventual fallen and broken man. Barrymore is clearly having a great time playing all of these different styles and he's especially effective in the final scenes, which I won't spoil. The scene can be called melodrama but it's melodrama at its highest peak thanks to Barrymore. He alone makes this film worth checking out.
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