The play, "The Firebrand," opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 15 October 1924 and closed in May 1925 after 261 performances. The opening night cast included Nana Bryant as the Duchess, Frank Morgan as Allessandro (same role as in the movie), Edward G. Robinson as Ottaviano and Joseph Schildkraut as Cellini. See more »
Because this movie starred Fredric March, I was sure to see it. However, after seeing it, I can't exactly say it's a must-see film...or that I even liked it. It's not that it's a bad movie, but it's not all that great, either.
March plays the title character--a man who was a goldsmith for the Medicis in Renaissance Italy. Through much of the film, Cellini spends his time chasing women and killing people in sword fights (wow...Freud would have had a field day if he'd ever met a guy like this). It's all very well acted yet stilted because it's essentially a costume drama--the sort of films I don't particularly like--though I am a huge fan of classic Hollywood. My problem with this film and others like it is that so much energy and time and money is spend on sets and costumes that the rest of the film usually suffers. The only real plus for the film is the nice and jovial performance by Frank Morgan--he was a lot of fun and quite in his element. Otherwise, it's just another costumer combined with a light comedic/romantic touch--the sort of film Errol Flynn or John Barrymore (during the silent era) would have excelled at if they'd been given such a role.
As for me, I never got into the film very much as it seemed like a silly sort of trifle of a film, but also could see it was a quality production. Perhaps there were just too many knowing glances between Constance Bennett and March to make this a particularly rewarding film to watch.
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