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 »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Clyde Fitch's play, written for renowned stage actor Richard Mansfield, is a very romantic interpretation of incidents in the life of George (Beau) Brummel, the Regency dandy whose name has become a watchword for sartorial splendour and correctness, and is itself freely adapted for this film that showcases the unparallelled talent of John Barrymore in his prime as Brummel. With revenge in his heart, Brummel sets out to manipulate London society in a great game due to his, because of an untitled station, having lost his lover, played well by 18 year old Mary Astor with whom Barrymore began an affair during this filming, and he utilizes a close relationship with his sponsor, the Prince of Wales, the Regent (later King George IV), to advance his plan. Barrymore's control of his scenes is unmatched as he expresses the widest possible range of emotion and reaction with the smallest movement of eyes or mouth and, although there are opportunities aplenty for emoting, his utilization of a prolonged gaze into the eyes of a lover or foe speaks volumes. Barrymore is strongly assisted by a very able supporting cast, including Willard Louis as the Prince of Wales, Aleck B. Francis as Brummel's loyal manservant and, as the Duchess of York, the exquisite Irene Rich, whose rhythms and ability to focus upon her character's persona nicely complements Barrymore during their shared scenes. Harry Beaumont, as always, directs capably and is assisted enormously with his efforts by cinematographer David Abel, whose skill with large groups during complicated action was later markedly in evidence as he supervised the cameras during the best of the Astaire/Rogers films. Somewhat more than a cavil might be a desire for the scenario to have presented more of Brummel's full life rather than the lengthy treatment given to its denouement, and that lacking in accuracy, but certainly allowing Barrymore a good deal of dramatic opportunity that does not go shunned.
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