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Ravishing cinematography, lovely story (with a dark edge)
One of the most heartbreaking, swoon-inducing film experiences I've ever had is 1934's "Little Man, What Now?"
It's about a young couple, with a child, struggling against poverty and a steady stream of bad luck in early 1930's Germany. It's an American film, but at times it almost plays like a piece of European cinema. The atmosphere is thick and the story isn't afraid to drift into areas that are a bit dark (and daring in a pre-code sense). It has a sentimental streak for sure, but the sentiment is never turned on at the expense of intelligence.
Another stand out quality of the film is it's almost painfully gorgeous cinematography. The world of the film is like a dream or like something from a storybook. Sunlight shines against water and trees and grass with a pristine silvery glow. Faces are shown in the most lovely light. Margaret Sullavan, especially, is shot in a way that practically makes you fall in love with her.
This is a true jewel of obscure 1930's cinema, rarely shown and, as of this writing, not available on any home video format. See it the first chance you get. It is a must for the classic movie enthusiast who feels like they've seen everything.
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