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Stilted dialogue, melodramatic performances, and a formulaic story are what make "Notorious Affair" from 1930 bad.
It's bad today; it was the style back then. Plays and movies dealt in melodrama and in the upper classes.
The film stars Kay Francis, Billie Dove, and Basil Rathbone, who is woefully miscast as an Italian violinist named Gherardi, mispronounced in the movie as "Gerardi". It's a hard G, Guhrardi. Francis plays a complete slut who goes to bed with every man she meets; she goes after Gherardi, who is married to Dove. He succumbs.
In one hilarious scene, he tells her he's going home. She shuts the curtains to her boudoir, and he stands there, face full of desire, closes his eyes, and sighs.
Both Francis and Dove are stunning and beautifully dressed. Francis has a presence and sophistication. Dove is luminescently beautiful, with huge, expressive eyes and an oval face. It's such a shame nearly every one of her films is lost. She retired very early from films but lived until age 94.
Rathbone, with his outrageously bad accent and overly made up face, is wooden and too big for the screen, having come from the theater. Screen acting with speaking was very new.
The gowns are gorgeous.
This film is a great example of the old acting style and type of film made pre-code. Most of all, it's a chance to see the gorgeous Billie Dove.
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