Natasha and her grandfather live in a cottage near Moscow, making hats for Madame Irène. Madame and her husband have told the housing committee that Natasha rents a room from them; this ... See full summary »
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Natasha and her grandfather live in a cottage near Moscow, making hats for Madame Irène. Madame and her husband have told the housing committee that Natasha rents a room from them; this fiddle gives Madame's lazy husband a room for lounging. The local railroad clerk, Fogelev, loves Natasha but she takes a shine to Ilya, a clumsy student who sleeps in the train station. To help Ilya, Natasha marries him and takes him to Madame's to live in the room the house committee thinks is hers. Meanwhile, Madame's husband pays Natasha with a lottery ticket he thinks is a loser, and when it comes up big, just as Ilya and Natasha are falling in love, everything gets complicated Written by
This movie is really cute. Unfortunately, that adjective has a rather derogatory connotation, especially when referring to a work of art. I certainly don't mean it that way. Frankly, I could use a little delight of the sort The Girl with the Hat Box provided me. It's an utterly charming story about a young girl who makes hats. The comedy of errors is complicated, and is not worth telling in whole.
Anna Sten stars in the lead. Does that name ring any bells? Well, I didn't recognize the name, but I clicked on it and read up on her. Apparently Samuel Goldwyn brought her over to the United States (surely based on her performance in Hat Box) to be the next Garbo in the early 1930s. She starred in Nana (Dorothy Arzner & George Fitzmaurice, 1934), We Live Again (Rouben Mamoulien, 1934; also starring Frederic March), and The Wedding Night (King Vidor, 1935, and she starred opposite Gary Cooper). All were enormous bombs, each more astronomical than the last. Afterwards, she appeared in several more Hollywood films in secondary roles. I really, really want to see any of her Hollywood films to see what her problem was. You'd never know there was one from The Girl with the Hat Box. She's gorgeous, charming, and very funny.
The male lead is played, also delightfully, by Ivan Koval-Samborsky, who had a major role in 1926's Mother by Pudovkin. He plays a homeless student whom Sten at first pities and tries to help, but they soon find love in each other. The villains in the film are played by Serafima Birman and P. Paul. They are both exceptional. The latter doesn't seem to have any other film credits, but the former later played Efrosinia, Ivan the Terrible's aunt in Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible movies. I didn't recognize her, as this was 18 years earlier. Plus, in Ivan she is always covered in huge robes. But you can recognize her from the nose.
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