Here's a movie that is better than I find it. Matt Moore is brilliant in his performance, simply by the uncomfortable way he wears his clothes. You can always tell when people in real life are in costume by the way they move and Matt Moore's character in this Pygmalion show is comfortable only in the opening sequence when, a virtual brute -- the Caveman of the title, a coal heaver who is enticed to Marie Prevost's Park Avenue apartment by a hundred dollar bill. Later on, in his finery, he is always stiff, and when he attempts to leave, he has forgotten how to wear his workmen's clothes. The film is well directed by Lewis Milestone at the beginning of his career.
I have issues with Myrna Loy. Miss Loy is absolutely gorgeous here and way too distracting as Marie Prevost's French maid; it's like watching Jetta Goudal in the silent version of THE GREEN GODDESS and wondering why anyone cares about Alice Joyce's sedate beauty. Here, why does anyone care about Miss Prevost when it's clear the reason why Myrna is so deft with a knife: she must need to fight 'em off constantly?
It is, however, Marie Prevost's performance that sets my hairs on edge: as a spoiled, bored, rich girl who decides to remodel Matt Moore, not in order to improve him, but because she wants something to prove her control of the world .... well, I've met people like that. Most of them are dead and the survivors tell me they don't understand why their kids don't understand how dangerous the real world is. I find 'em creepy and totally unsympathetic. And I find Miss Prevost's performance dead on and want to keep away from her and this movie. The last movie that affected me this way was Terry Gilliam's TIDELANDS.
So make of this movie what you will. Sometimes fiction is too much like the real world, but the ending is wrong, wrong, wrong.
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