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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Nowhere in all fiction can be found more romance than was crowded into the life of this penniless commoner, whose natural charm and studied insolence made him the greatest dandy of all time - the immortal "Beau" Brummel.
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Gorgeous cinematography and sets can't make up for a very weak story
For 1924, this is a truly exquisite looking film. You can tell that the fledgling studio, Warner, really pulled out all the stops to make this film a success--great sets, camera-work and even recruiting John Barrymore back from the stage to star in this film. However, despite all these positives, the overall effect isn't all that engaging--thanks to a very weak story that practically put me to sleep.
The problem with the story is that Beau Brummel is a very, very flawed man. At first, you see him as flawed but decent. Later in the film, he just seems like a jerk--allowing his way overblown ego to ultimately destroy him. In fact, this made the second half of the film much tougher going because it was hard to care about a man who simply didn't deserve it. Plus, so much of the film consisted of rather syrupy love scenes and Barrymore's acting was really over the top. While I love many of Barrymore's films, in this one he seemed a bit "hammy"--nothing like his later film roles.
Without a serious re-working of the film, this one turned out to be very pretty but ultimately as dull as the later Stewart Granger re-make. Pretty to look at but not very satisfying--it's like eating a meal entirely of unflavored rice cakes.
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