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During the twenties, Paramount made a lot of sophisticated comedies,
which meant people, supposedly living in Europe in varying states of
undress, coming to no good. This would prove that Middle America knew
how to live. Many of them, alas, were not particularly funny. Except
for Raymond Griffith, this is one of them.
Bebe Daniels is talented and gorgeous, but this movie is largely a series of of title cards... about the equivalent of reading a tersely-written play with a lot of photos from the New York production, which opened and closed in one night. However, when Raymond Griffith walks in, everything busts loose. The men are staring moony-eyed at the talented Miss Daniels -- we know she is talented, because we've seen her shine in Harold Lloyd comedies and in 42ND STREET -- as Raymond Griffith tries, unsuccessfully, to take a nap. He tries to get to bed -- only to find Bebe Daniels in bed with him, whereupon everyone rushes in to find her hiding under the bed and him cowering under the blankets. He wanders about in pajamas and a top hat. He collapses under the weight of fainting fiancées. Raymond Griffith is alive in this movie, while everyone else is, at best, posing. He is the one pleasure in this cardboard cutout of a movie and makes it worth seeing. If you are fanatic about seeing everything surviving with Mr. Griffith in in -- and his performance here, as in the handful of his starring Paramount vehicles that survive have made me anxious to -- then you'll want to see this, at least once. The rest of the movie, however, will stop you from seeing it again.
If you want to see a sharply-turned farce with plenty of slamming doors, go see Peter Bogdanovitch's movie version of NOISES OFF! or one of Charley Chase's brilliantly-timed silent shorts. If you want to see Mr. Griffith to advantage, track down a copy of HANDS UP! And do look for Miss Daniels with Harold Lloyd. Despite the evidence of MISS BLUEBEARD, she really can be funny.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The title character is only referred to once as "Miss Bluebeard". She's not a killer by any means. In this film, she's an actress and, in the opening scene, she's in a play. At just about the same time, there's an author named Larry Charters. He's a composer and is attractive to quite a lot of women. A local newspaper (this movie is set in France) announces where he's staying and that he'd be happy to sign autographs, so he's swamped. Tired of being swamped, he's informed a friend that he can use his name of Larry Chambers. "Larry Chambers" gets the real Larry Chambers in trouble because he accidentally marries the title character! The real Larry Charters is not pleased when he finds this out, either. As happens in movies of this time period (and it's not a good thing), the title character and the real Larry Charters fall in love and decided to really get married. But it's not that easy. Miss Bluebeard speaks English as if it's translated directly from the French and has the stereotypical temperament to go along with it. She is very intolerant of Larry's shortcomings and tried to make him jealous. Complicating things further is that the friend who took his name also has a fiancée. It's all quite a mess, not a bad mess, though.
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