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Anne Brooks is being blackmailed by her old dancing partner Maurice. They married when she was young but broke up after which he said he was getting a quickie divorce. Anne married the much older millionaire Schuyler Brooks only to have Maurice return to reveal he didn't obtain the divorce after all. Now he wants money to keep quiet. Anne reveals her secret to Schuyler's sister Portia who devises a scheme to trick Maurice into leaving the country by having Anne suddenly travel alone to Cuba. Once out of the country Portia will use her influence to block Maurice's return. However, Anne's request for a vacation by herself in Cuba arouses Schuyler's already simmering jealousy. He hires detective Neil Davis to follow her and prove whether she is faithful. Neil is unsuccessful in seducing Anne, then realizes he is falling in love with her. Written by
Brian Cady <firstname.lastname@example.org>
THE KEYHOLE has a clear plot hook, strong characters (you love 'em or hate 'em), non-static cinematography and colorful details that keep you entertained from the first frame. A number of Kay Francis movies had a similar plot structure: wealthy, beautiful, fashionable, sophisticated woman with man problems, usually triangular, but in this case quadrangular. Michael Curtiz keeps this one moving at a fast clip. In this particular plot, Francis's nasty ex-husband (Monroe Owsley) is blackmailing her while her jealous, aging current husband (Walter Kolker) hires a dapper private eye (George Brent) to follow her to make sure she's not seeing another man and of course Brent and Francis fall in love. Allen Jenkins (as Brent's dopey sidekick) and Glenda Farrell (as a crooked golddigger) are on hand as comic counterpoint to the lead players. Francis is charming as usual, exhibiting her trademark "look"
the raven hair swept back to show off her natural widow's peak, the
unique eyebrow penciling that curves around her melancholy eyes, and the statuesque grace; and of course her character goes through about 15 costume changes in the 69-minutes of running time (a different drop-dead outfit for every segment of the day). The public inevitably tired of her, which is why she is forgotten today; she was more interested in her salary than in the quality of her roles, as she freely admitted. But when she was in her prime, wow, what a prime. Moving with feline grace in backless satin gowns, she is phantasmal and ravishing, yet still earthy, accessible and even vulnerable. You can't look away. So what if she couldn't pronounce her r's?
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