|Index||8 reviews in total|
Willie Leyland (Ronald Colman) returns to England to old girlfriend
Loy), but meets new girl (Loretta Young). The repartee between the
characters is delightful. My favourite scene is when Ronald Colman is
writing a letter to Myrna Loy to break off their relationship. He has
gotten a dog upon his return to England, and he asks for the dog's
while he's composing the letter.
The film is well done, and the charm of Ronald Colman and Loretta Young makes the story a "must see".
Ronald Colman plays a prodigal son. While he is NOT a bad guy, he is a
bit flighty and hasn't done a lot with his life other than travel the
world and have a jolly good time. Now that his latest venture in Africa
has failed, he's on his way home to England. His rich upper class
father plans on tossing him out on his ear, though thanks to Ronald's
winning style, he is reluctantly welcomed back with open arms.
At this point, there are two women in his life--showgirl Myrna Loy and rich girl Loretta Young (who is already engaged). How will all this work out and will Ronald wise up and act like a responsible adult--these are the main themes of this pleasant little film.
This isn't a great movie and certainly won't change your life, but it certainly is very entertaining and fun. Most of this is due to the always genial acting of Ronald Colman. Heck, in the heyday of his career in the 1930s, he could have played in REEFER MADNESS or some other dreck and still made it entertaining and likable due to his charming persona. His seemingly effortless style in this movie make it very easy to like him and it's easy to see why both Loretta Young and Myrna Loy are in love with him in the film! Plus, the writing is very witty and make this a nice romantic-comedy.
This film directed by George Fitzmaurice, who made so many excellent films, is well up to his excellent standard. It is crisp, witty, with some wonderful lines, and has the inimitable Ronald Colman in the romantic lead. Colman plays the irresistibly charming younger son of a wealthy English peer. He is financially irresponsible (spending, for instance, £15 of his last £20 in the world on a cute little terrier whom he names George), but open, wildly generous, contemptuous of lucre, irreverent in the politest possible way, and hopelessly sentimental. He is so dashing that all the women fall in love with him. His girlfriend is a star of the music halls, and hence in 1930 a denizen of the demi-monde, played with her typical svelte, narrow-eyed silkiness by the youthful Myrna Loy. Fitzmaurice was not a great user of closeups, and gals of that day had their faces half-hidden with those awful clinging hats anyway, so we do not get as good glimpses of the faces of the two heroines as we would like. The director seems more interested in the charming Colman, anyway. The romantic female lead is the youthful and fresh-faced Loretta Young, who had not yet become the proto-Julie Andrews we generally know her as, but was still a blushing girl exuding all the sweetness of a rose garden and laughing merrily and heartily the whole time. It is obvious that a character with her terrific sense of humour was needed to appreciate the snob-busting social anarchism of the refreshing aristocratic character played by Colman. The plot barely matters, as is so often the case with these light and amusing films. This is just such fun.
Ronald Coleman had been a star of the screen for several years when
talkies came in, and what a boost it was to his career. His Oxford
English accent is so enthralling I could listen to him recite the
farmer's almanac and not be bored.
Coleman plays Willie Hale, a 30ish playboy from a wealthy family who spends his time womanizing and gambling. Yet, he's a likable rogue - not only likable from the standpoint of the audience but by family and friends too. He has yet again gone broke due to his constant gambling and sells off his possessions in a foreign location to settle his debts and provide passage back home to England. When he gets there, he at first is met by a father who insists he'll kick him out - he's had it with Willie and his layabout ways. However, five minutes alone in a room with Willie and his charm, and Willie is not only forgiven by dad, dad has given him one hundred pounds to boot.
Willie then goes for a day's recreation with his sister and her friend, Dorothy Hope (Loretta Young). Dorothy is set to be engaged to the Grand Duke Paul that very night, mainly just because her dad wants royalty in the family, and there is nobody else special in her life. That changes after her day with Willie, and soon there is a scandal brewing as Dorothy refuses to go through with the marriage as planned.
Ronald Coleman is always a delight to watch in these early talking films he did for Sam Goldwyn where he is playing the confident adventurer or cad or both. He has a demeanor akin to Errol Flynn, but he is unable to display Flynn's physical agility due to a disabling wound he received during World War I. However, what he lacks in physical agility Coleman always made up in agility of soul. Loretta Young, only 17 when this picture was made, shows the beginning of her trademark sweet girl that can erupt into a ball of fire when the occasion calls for it. Myrna Loy plays Willie's girl from the past - Mary Crayle - a showgirl. Here Myrna is still playing a part similar to the exotic vamp parts she got stuck with so often over at Warner Brothers when she was a contract player from 1926 until shortly before this movie was made in 1930.
This is pretty much a light and breezy romantic comedy from start to finish. If you're in a mood for the kind of escapist entertainment that lightened the hearts of audiences during the Great Depression, this little film fits the bill.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In Ronald Colman's Oscar winning performance in A Double Life, he plays
an actor who gets way too deep into his characters. It's pointed out
that when he's in a comedy he's just the life of the party and when in
a drama like Othello, we find out he becomes way too much like the
character he's playing. Watching The Devil To Pay I thought this must
have been the comedy they were talking about.
If Colman ever had a star vehicle in his career, that depended strictly on his British charm to carry the film, this was it. He plays the second son of a titled lord who is as irresponsible as they come. He goes bust in Kenya colony and has to auction his possessions to come back to the United Kingdom when we first meet him. He spends his last few dollars on a dog, touches dear old dad for some more money and charms it out of him, hooks up with old girl friend Myrna Loy and then dumps her when he meets Loretta Young. And Young he takes from the dullard she's planning to marry, Paul Cavanaugh.
When you come right down to it, Colman's a real cad in The Devil To Pay. But he's such a charming cad, he's positively irresistible. I think only Leslie Howard of all the other actors could have been capable enough of bringing off this part, maybe.
Though The Devil To Pay is strictly a star vehicle for Colman, it does have the added attraction of a couple of other movie legends, Young and Loy in their salad days. And I really did enjoy Frederick Kerr as Colman's Lord Blimp of a father.
For fans of Ronald Colman, The Devil To Pay is not to be missed.
The title notwithstanding, this is a cute little romantic comedy from 1930, and features a lot of star power in Ronald Colman, Myrna Loy, and a very young Loretta Young. Colman is the devil-may-care son of a rich old man who has squandered various opportunities, and is returning home from his most recent in British East Africa. He's so charming and smooth, and you can't help but like the lightness with which he approaches life. He's got a girlfriend in theater star Myrna Loy, but soon falls for the engaged daughter of a friend of the family, Loretta Young. It's interesting to consider the ages of these actors: Young, fresh-faced and just 17(!), Loy, 25, and Colman, 39, but somehow he pulls it off. Young is a bit too girlish in the early scenes in the film, but settles in eventually, and is also quite endearing. Watch it for the two of them.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Today's movies go at 78 rpm. Movies from the mid-1930s through the
1950s go at 45 rpm. Movies from the beginning of talkies to the
early-to-mid 1930s sometimes seem to go at 33&1/3 rpms. That's the way
I sometimes think of cinema over the years. So if you're going to enjoy
this film, you have to slow your pace down quite a bit, forget about
much background music, and just savor that wonderful voice and the
mannerisms of Ronald Colman.
There are two primary reasons for watching this film. First, if you're a Ronald Colman fan; and I am. This was Colman's fourth talking picture. He's a pleasure to watch and listen to. A truly unique actor.
The other primary reason for watching this film is Loretta Young, the main love interest. She had made quite a few films before this one, but many of them have been lost forever.
The plot involves Colman as an upper-class happy failure who has been living in Africa, but returns home to England and a father that is angry over his son's lifestyle...and yet loves his son and supports him. Colman first goes to visit his old love -- Myrna Loy, an actress. Loy and her friend (Young) to the the Derby with Colman, and Colman and Young begin falling in love. Young breaks her engagement to a Russian Grand Duke because she loves Colman. Colman eventually proposes, but disappoints Young when he sees Loy one more time...to say goodbye. Colman and Young separate. Will love conquer all, or will Colman move on to New Zealand? Back in these days, America's film industry often seemed obsessed with the lives of the wealthy. I find it a boring obsession. Here, however, it's a fairly interesting story, despite the sometimes very slow pace...and the over-talkativeness.
I have many of Colman's talkies in my collection, but I won't be adding this one. However, I am glad to have seen it. I'm just waiting for the "Light That Failed" to come out on DVD!
Devil to Pay, The (1930)
** (out of 4)
An adventurer (Ronald Coleman) who can't do anything right in life gets involved with a woman (Loretta Young) who's about to be married to another man, which sets off various events. This film is pretty routine even for 1930 as we've seen this type of love triangle in various films. Coleman is very good in his role and his fast, energetic performance makes the film fly by. Young is equally good bring her natural charm and cuteness to her role. Myrna Loy, Frederick Kerr and David Torrence also deliver fine performances. The film runs a quick paced 72-minutes and this flies by but the screenplay could have done better for the performers.
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