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Douglas Fairbanks Jr.,
Laura La Plante,
Mimi was one of a series of films that Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. did while
visiting the United Kingdom from 1934 to 1936. It's a straight dramatic
version of the Puccini opera, La Boheme.
Though The Rise of Catherine the Great is probably the best known and
best received of the Fairbanks English films from this period, Mimi was
a special one. It's also one of the few films that Gertrude Lawrence
did and she did it at a time when she and Fairbanks were romantically
In fact while making several films Fairbanks also appeared on the
London stage in two different plays with Lawrence, Moonlight is Silver
and The Winding Journey. Neither of those is first rank among the work
of either Fairbanks or Lawrence.
And sad to say, neither is Mimi. Unfortunately realizing that their
source material is from grand opera, both Fairbanks and Lawrence
perform in the manner of grand opera. They overact outrageously, maybe
inspired by the Puccini music that is used in the background. Doug and
Gertie sure got no directorial help in this one.
Of course La Boheme served as the inspiration for the recent musical
Rent and I'd suggest seeing that before watching Mimi.
Unless you're a big fan of Doug and Gert.
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