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Norman Z. McLeod
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Julie Cavendish comes from a family of great Broadway actors. Her mother Fanny staunchly continues acting. Her boisterous brother Tony is fleeing a breach of promise suit in Hollywood. Her ... See full summary »
A tour guide in Venice romances a visiting American tourist whose father owns a chewing-gum factory back in the U.S. She sets out to convince her skeptical father to bring the tour guide to America and give him a job in the plant.
Constance Bennett was born to play a Medici. Her combination of hauteur and ooh-la-la makes this role a perfect fit. Frank Morgan, as her dithering husband, is amusing but less plausible.
Fredric March, as the title character, is good. He was always good. Possibly not the heartthrob he needs to be, he is nevertheless both cocky and handsome. Fay Wray is excellent as a commoner whose tastes are too prosaic for the dastardly lover Cellini. She looks beautiful (as does Bennett.) This is certainly atypical Gregory La Cava. It is probably not very accurate historically. But as costume pieces go, it's very compelling. A few years later, another studio made one that is more famous. That was "Marie Antoinette." It was better researched and is still somewhat well known. But it is really dull.
The costumes here are gorgeous. Now and then the music is appropriate to the time. A theme that seems distinctly 19th Century Romantic runs through, though.
The supporting cast is up to the task. It's hard to imagine what people sitting down in a theater in 1934 made of this. Bennett was still a big star so maybe they were happy to see her. It's an oddity, no doubt about it. But it's very good.
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