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Ann Williams, secretary to eccentric drama critic Frederick Skeates, is persuaded to alter a ruinous review of Shakespearean actor Edmund Davey by Davey's wife Barbara. Davey's 'Othello' becomes a hit and Ann, even though fired by Skeates, becomes a fan of Davey and starts to fall for him, much to the jealousy of her boyfriend Tommy. At the prospect of involvement in an adulterous triangle, Ann recoils; but despite her resolution, the characters' love lives become ever more tangled and a real-life tragedy of Othello looms... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Very interesting cast in this 1936 British film that predates A DOUBLE LIFE by nearly a decade.
Miriam Hopkins plays a secretary who alters a scathing review of an actor in OTHELLO at his wife's (Gertrude Lawrence) behest. The wife turns out to be correct and the actor (Sebastian Shaw) goes on to become the rage of London's West End. Hopkins then becomes obsessed with the actor and starts going to all the performances of the play. Shaw then become smitten with Hopkins and we get a parallel story of jealousy and rage finally played out on the stage as Shaw's Othello tries to kill Lawrence's Desdemona. All very intriguing and very well played with bits of humor here and there.
Hopkins is, as always, eminently watchable. She was a great actress whose reputation has rather dimmed with the passing decades, but in the 30s she ranked with the top star actresses and was equally at home in drama or comedy. Lawrence is interesting to see in a good role. Not a traditional beauty, but she was a major stage star in her day and she's very good in this film. Shaw is rather bland but does OK with the Shakespearean scenes.
Rex Harrision plays a gawky suitor after Hopkins. A.E. Matthews is very good as the theatre critic. Sybil Grove plays the painter in the park, Laura Smithson is funny as the acid maid, and Val Gielgud (brother to John Gielgud) plays the producer.
But Hopkins is the star. One wonders how she came to star in this British film for Alexander Korda since her Hollywood career was still going strong.
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