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|Index||18 reviews in total|
"Frank" drama about a woman who needs lots of expensive things, or she "just can't stand it". Much better than its reputation, this flick has a good script and good acting from Chatterton, Brent, and great acting by Henry Kolker as an elderly lover. But it's primarily interesting because of its depiction of stock-market worship, and its relationship to whoredom. Short (58 minutes) but classy; another good one from director Dieterle ("Hunchback of ND").
I just catch this movie on "France 3", French TV-channel whose "ciné
club" is alive and well, giving us gems to watch, promising even more.
What a good surprise of a film. The cinematic value is not little. Dieterle knows the angles. Photography is excellent. The music score is not overwhelming but useful, giving each place and situation their own sonic mood. (By the way, the copy broadcast was in very good state of preservation.)
The rhythm is good, the film being quite fast paced. Dialogs are simple, sometimes witty, more often cynical though it's quite difficult to know whether it's "vulgar cynicism" or "moral cynicism". I'm inclined to lean to the latter, since the end is quite moralistic.
The actors - I must confess they were all unknown to me - are excellent. All of them, in my opinion. Miss Leonard, as the French maid, raised many smiles on my tired face.
It was a perfect opportunity to remind me how valuable were American movies before the Hayes code, how adult and clichés-free. Many thanks to William Dieterle (and to French TV "ciné-club").
I just watched this film and I loved it! I thought it was fascinating
and funny, with great acting and dialog. The interpersonal
relationships and social constructs are great fun to watch. I was with
the story the whole length of the movie.
" We're not gentlemen' we're businessmen"
Lots of great lines. It's an interesting part of history as to what was going on right after the stock market crash of 1929. In this story there are people pointing the finger at who ever gave them the bad stock tip, then trying to get money from them. There's a lof about money itself that I think is unusual in an old movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wow, is this a strange film. The Gaults are a crazy and disturbing
couple. The wife (Ruth Chatterton) craves excitement and goes from one
meaningless affair to another--caring very little for the men she beds.
As for the husband (George Brent--in a VERY atypical role), he is just
fine with all her infidelities--provided she exploit these
relationships to get him stock tips! As a result, they are rather rich
and, in their own sick way, happy. However, when the Stock Market Crash
occurs in 1929, their world is turned upside down and they are now
faced with living within their means for a change! As for Ruth, she
continues with her whoring--and lets men take care of her in a manner
to which she's grown very accustomed. As for the marriage, it is over
in all but name and she is out sleeping around in fashionable places
while he is back home--trying to rebuild his fortune. Occasionally, and
for reasons unknown, she occasionally gets one of her lovers to send
the hubby some money! As I said...pretty disturbing! Eventually this
weird relationship, however, appears ready to end as Ruth is tiring of
this arrangement AND she's met a man who she's actually fallen for!
And, uncharacteristically, Ruth decides to finally do something she
never thought she'd do....get a job and pay her own way! Yet, as the
audience watches, they can't help but think that despite all this, she
and Brent might just stay married after all as despite everything there
is some sort of super-creepy connection that binds them (what this is,
I have no idea). What happens next you'll have to see for yourself.
In many ways, this film is entertaining. Mostly it's because the plot is so wicked and the couple so bizarre that you can't stop watching! In addition, the film is so unusual (even for Pre-Code films) that it keeps you guessing! It's not great...but well acted and interesting despite its warped finale. What a sick little film!! As for Ruth Chatterton, such amoral roles were pretty typical for her and seeing her playing such a vacuous vixen worked. But George Brent, on the other hand, usually played very self-reliant and proud men--nothing like the sinister cuckold he plays here. Once the stronger Production Code was enacted starting in mid-1934, however, such roles were rare for Chatterton and Brent played significantly more manly roles. Promiscuity and amorality of the sort in this film simply wasn't allowed due to the restrictive and more family-friendly Code--so Chatterton's career slowly fizzled.
It also is interesting that Chatterton and Brent married shortly before this film debuted. Their marriage, like the one in the film, wasn't a strong one and only lasted about two years.
Only an 8 because of its length, probably 9 for short films. OK, short
film, short comments.
I uttered several "wow's" in reaction to the dialog. If ever a film were straight, this one is. The viewer doesn't have to sit on the edge of his seat waiting for what the character's ought to say -- they say it.
"The Crash" could be favorably compared to the best of Maupassant's writing. The story is succinct and populated with unpretentious characters who make this film into what could be called concentrated story.
Chatterton is flawless and George Brent is so deliberately unassuming we end up liking him even as we condemn his lust for money. In fact, there are no bad guys at all. Actually no good ones, either. Nothing flat here.
Finally, in line with Maupassant's style, see if you don't think another title would be more appropriate -- "The Tip."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ruth Chatterton was constantly given material that was unworthy of her
but most people knew her true worth. James Agate once said "as an
actress Miss Chatterton seems to knock Garbo silly" and in 1931 readers
of "Movie Fan" voted her "Finest Actress on the Screen". 1931 hadn't
been her finest hour with more flops than hits, however that didn't
stop Warners from signing her to a 2 year contract at the astronomical
sum of $750,000. Her first movie was good - "The Rich Are Always With
Us" with George Brent, who soon became her 2nd husband and to
capitalize on the romance Warners starred them in "The Crash".
Occasionally, you get movies, like this one, where you have to look at the supporting players to find anyone remotely sympathetic (I am thinking of Ginger Rogers in "Upperworld"). Linda and Geoffrey Gault are like that (unlikable I mean). Geoffrey Gault (George Brent) will do anything to retain his wealth - he knows he cannot keep his wife as a poor man. They loved each other once - now he is more than happy for Linda (Ruth Chatterton) to use her charms on influential men, to put stock tips his way. When an old school friend, Martha (Lois Wilson) visits Linda, she is desperate for money as her husband hasn't worked for 5 months. Linda gives her money but the very sight of Martha brings back memories of the small town poverty she has spent all her life trying to forget.
When Geoffrey asks Linda to be "nice" to Jack Fair (Henry Kolker) to find out the state of the market, he doesn't realise that Linda has just broken off an affair with him. Of course Jack won't give her any tips, but to keep Geoffrey happy, Linda tells him the market is in great shape - big mistake!!! The next day, October 29th, the world comes crashing down. Linda flees to Bermuda because she can't stand the "sordidness" of being poor in New York and when Geoffrey cables her to tell her they are officially ruined and it's now "every man for himself", she begins a flirtation with Ronnie (Paul Cavanagh) an Australian sheep man. He falls very much in love with her but is Linda only playing with him? Who knows and who really cares about these people?
A sub-plot involves Linda's maid, Celeste (Barbara Leonard - now she had an interesting private life!!) and Arthur (Hardie Albright - big things were once expected of him). Celeste gives Arthur Linda's "hot tip" - he loses everything, steals from his boss and ends up in prison. Celeste then steals Linda's pearls, the only thing that is keeping the wolf from the door. That is the turning point of the film as Linda then realises she must get a job.
A little story about Barbara Leonard - in 1935 she was beaten and robbed at her home and the next week newspapers ran a picture of the angry actress, armed with guns, daring the thugs to return!!!
This is one of four movies that Ruth Chatterton and her husband George
Brent made together at Warner Brothers, and I'd have to say that in
spite of the fact that none of the main characters had remotely
admirable qualities I enjoyed the film. Plus I make allowances that its
roughly one hour running time is not long enough for much character
Here George Brent and Ruth Chatterton play wealthy couple Geoffrey and Linda Gault. Geoffrey Gault is hardly John Galt, for if he shrugged all that would be disturbed is some air. Geoffrey makes his money by allowing his lovely wife to seduce knowledgeable men of finance and extract stock tips from them. He then plays the market with these tips and accumulates more and more wealth. However, showing that there's maybe a spark of character left in him, he is still jealous. As there are signs that there are problems in the market building up to the stock market crash, Geoffrey instructs Linda to get one final tip from a man she's recently broken off her relationship with - wealthy industrialist John Fair. Fair tells Linda he doesn't give something for nothing, since he is still somewhat bitter about their break up. When Geoffrey questions Linda later in the evening and she says she got nothing out of Fair, Geoffrey says, somewhat self-satisfied, that her charms had to slip some day. Linda's pride is hurt by this, and she lies saying that Fair did tell her that the tremors in the market mean nothing and that everything will continue to go up. Not only does Geoffrey invest based on this fabrication, so does Linda's maid and all of her other servants. The results are ... well, I'll let you watch and see how this all plays out. Let me just say it all came across as rather lacking in a firm resolution.
It's always a pleasure to see Ruth Chatterton in anything, as she makes even a shallow woman like Linda Gault seem complex, and in some ways she really is. I'd recommend this one to anybody who likes the early talking Warner Brothers films or precode films, although this film is more stark commentary on the reversal of fortunes of the early 30's than it is precode.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Hollywood in the years before the Code produced pictures that were
frank in the way they tackled a subject. Even though these movies did
not have today's explicitness, the film makers had a freedom that was
to come to an end in a few years. William Dieterle's wonderful film
"The Crash", which was shown on TCM recently, is one film where a good
story is told in fifty-eight minutes.
This film, which came out a few years after the 1929 Wall Street crash, deals with the way it affected people that had a lot invested and their descent in status as their fortunes were wiped out. Linda Gault, an ambitious woman, makes no bone in telling Geoff, her husband she needs money in order not to be bored. The new situation the real crash presented for Linda, makes a good character study of a woman of leisure and her world after they have to face a new reality they are really not prepared for.
The great Ruth Catterton plays Linda with conviction. We enjoyed the young George Brent, who is seen as Geoff Gault in the film. Henry Kolker and Barbara Leonard make excellent contributions to make this film work.
A film worth catching any time it's shown on TCM, a channel that has to be congratulated for its wonderful scheduling in resurrecting all these forgotten classics of the American cinema. The film also shows a good director, William Dieterle, at his best.
I love how Ruth Chatterton continued to play leading roles into her
forties, at a time when actresses started playing character roles in
Here she stars with husband George Brent in "The Crash" from 1932, and that crash is Wall Street 1929. Chatterton plays Linda Gault and Brent is her husband Geoffrey. They're used to the best of everything, particularly Linda, who grew up poor and is determined never to be poor again.
Geoffrey depends on Linda to find out things about the stock market by sleeping with financial men. Of course this is referred to in the film as "your charms."
Geoffrey gets a little nervous about the market and needs to find out whether to pull out of the market or stay in, so he sends Linda to an older financier, John Fair (Henry Kolker), who is crazy about her, to find out the truth of the situation.
Linda is sick of whoring around so she tells her husband that John told her everything is fine. The staff hears her and go on an investment binge, as does John. Then the market crashes. Geoffrey goes broke. Linda begs him to allow her to go away for a while to Bermuda just until things settle down. I guess she just wanted to be out of the fray.
Geoffrey comes up with a letter of credit for $5000 to enable her to leave. Once there, she meets an Australian sheep rancher, Ronnie Sanderson (Paul Cavanagh) who falls in love with her and wants to marry her.
Chatterton gives a wonderful performance -- somehow, we like her and understand her despite the fact that she's obvious in what she wants. Brent, Cavanagh, and Kolker give her excellent support.
This film that comes off like a stage play, though it's actually based on a novel. The dialogue is quite stilted.
Before the Depression, the upper class was the subject of plays and books, and films since many of them were adapted from plays. The class system was apparent, and everyone spoke in those mock British accents. That all changed beginning in the early '30s, and the working man took over with plays by Odets and his ilk. So this film is really an interesting artifact.
Ruth Chatterton is always worth seeing, so I recommend this; also, it's interesting from a historical viewpoint.
A very high rating from me because of the baldness with which husband pimps wife and wife accepts same. Nobody does FEMALE better than Ruth Chatterton (with that of course the name of probably her most famous flick, and a must-see), and here she does it as tour-de-force - even making me doublecheck her age - she is passed off as "young" in the movie while at least 39, but she does the femme so well, I did need to review. Anway, the amoral way in which Ruth and George attack the early scenes is truly delicious. Sure, the movie finally adheres to convention, but not until after 45 minutes of such elegant pouting and flirting. And Ruth is never an object, always the center of her universe, casually creating and destroying per the whim of the moment. She has never let me down - I wonder if her later alcoholism was a way for her to hold onto just how good and memorable she is? George Brent (blank slate Irish immigrant that he was)is a good foil to her in this tailor-made role.
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