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Gregory La Cava
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Edwin Justus Mayer's play about the life of Renaissance master sculptor Benvenuto Cellini ran for 241 performances in 1924-25 and Joseph Schildkraut and Nana Bryant played Cellini and the Duchess of Florence on Broadway. However Frank Morgan repeats the role he did on Broadway as the Duke of Florence and from then on he was typecast.
This was an interesting phenomenon showing the power of the cinema to typecast someone. Morgan had done this same role on Broadway and well, but he did all kinds of parts on stage and screen before The Affairs Of Cellini. But when he repeated this particular stage role he was forever typecast as the fumbling, bumbling fool. Very rarely in his screen career after The Affairs Of Cellini did he deviate from this, the movie-going public came to want to see him in many variations on the Duke Of Florence and from then on he was typecast.
The story is a long bedroom Renaissance farce where the talented, but amorous Cellini is constantly getting in scrapes of one sort or another, always over a woman be she married or not. Fredric March plays Cellini and he steals a bit from Douglas Fairbanks's swashbuckling shtick. He's a good artist though and the indulgent Duke keeps forgiving him and the Duchess played by Constance Bennett has her eye on him.
However one time when the Duke catches sight of the model that March is using he decides to invoke some of his noble powers to get her into his court. That arouses Bennett's ire and March is put out as well. He starts pushing the envelope real hard by putting the moves on a less than resistant duchess.
The model is played by Fay Wray and the only way I can describe her is a Renaissance valley girl. But that's exactly what's got both Morgan and March real interested.
The Affairs Of Cellini got four Oscar nominations including one for Best Actor for Frank Morgan. He lost to Clark Gable for It Happened One Night. Still Morgan is who you really remember from The Affairs Of Cellini.
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