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Alfred E. Green,
In Hungary, a prosperous and happy family of farmers take in a Gypsy girl, Nubi, when she runs away from her "cruel" master. Her fickle and seductive nature soon causes discord among the men of the household. Written by
Robert Tonsing <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Some of the early talkies survived to become classics. 1929's "The Squall" is a classic all right, but not in the way it was intended. Melodramatic in story and acting, today it seems ludicrous, particularly the casting of Myrna Loy as Nubi, a seductive gypsy. Imagine Nora Charles breaking up a young couple and driving a young man to steal. Outrageous! However, as many people know, when Loy first came to Hollywood, she did quite a few of these exotic seductress roles.
Based on a play, "The Squall" concerns the aforementioned Gypsy who in the film is now in Hungary (Spain in the play) running away from her cruel master and inviting herself into the home of the Lajos family (Richard Tucker and Alice Joyce), basically by appearing at the door. One by one, Nubi seduces the men of the family and the farm talking her pidgin English ("Nubi not bad! Nubi do nothing wrong!") and dropping hints about nice presents. The son in the family, Paul (Carroll Nye) is engaged to the beautiful Irma (Loretta Young) and can't wait to marry her. He loses interest when he meets Nubi.
With the exception of the lovely Alice Joyce, Zasu Pitts as a woman who lives in the household and the stunningly beautiful Loretta Young, the acting is uniformly awful. Loy is stuck with the hallmarks of her character - bad English, whining and hysteria. With her darkened makeup, peasant getup and curly hair, she is not only beautiful but right out of the 1980s - quite modern, though Richard Tucker's putting the back of his hand on his forehead reminds us we're just emerging from the silents.
Robert Osborne on TCM commented that this film is one of his secret pleasures. While it is deliciously bad, it's not deliciously bad enough to sit through again. It's just bad - but a great example of how far we've come and, had someone not picked up on Myrna Loy's sense of humor, how limited her wonderful career might have been.
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