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Fine Russell performance in tale of cold manipulator
Joan Crawford played the role in both QUEEN BEE and HARRIET CRAIG (the latter a remake of CRAIG'S WIFE) but Rosalind Russell became a star with her performance in the first talkie version. It's a photographed play but a strongly written one and it moves swiftly on film. Russell's coldness and her false sweetness, played for effect, are two sides of the same coin. The performance isn't as subtle as it could have been - we need that to believe she can pull the wool over most everyone's eyes - but Russell is quite fine in spite of it. John Boles makes a strong role of what could have been milquetoast and Billie Burke provides sweet contrast as the well-meaning neighbor. It's a good solid effort and deserves to be seen by those interested in Russell's career and in the progression of the early talkies.
NRastro's review elsewhere on this site is fascinating as it places the character within post-depression history and makes us understand her fear and need for material reassurance.
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