Count Armalia believes that the luck of birth is all that separates the rich from the poor. To test his theory, he sends Anni, who is a singer in a dive, to a ritzy resort for two weeks. ...
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Roy Del Ruth
Count Armalia believes that the luck of birth is all that separates the rich from the poor. To test his theory, he sends Anni, who is a singer in a dive, to a ritzy resort for two weeks. With fancy new clothes and ersatz status, Anni decides that she likes the rich life. But with time running out, she needs a rich husband and Rudi is the one she chooses. Only it takes longer than two weeks for Rudi to dump his fiancée and propose to her. In the weeks that she has been there, she finds that she loves Giulio, the postman with the small house and the donkey cart. But will she give up love for wealth.... Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
Originally, in 1937, Dorothy Arzner had been assigned by MGM producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz in 1937 to direct Luise Rainer in "The Girl from Trieste," an unperformed Ferenc Molnár play about a prostitute trying to reform herself who discovers the hypocrisies of the respectable class which she aspires to. After the death of Irving Thalberg, Louis B. Mayer was put in charge of MGM. Mayer disliked the perceived exploitation of the female lead's character, and insisted that Molnár's play be rewritten so that it was no longer about a prostitute, but instead a slightly dark Cinderella story with a happy ending. Retitled by Mankiewicz as The Bride Wore Red (1937), Rainer withdrew and was replaced by Joan Crawford. See more »
The Bride Wore Red is based on an unpublished Ferenc Molnar play which he probably couldn't get anyone on Broadway interested in. So for a reduced rate he sold the property to MGM which gave it the usual lavish MGM treatment.
American accents which bothered some other reviewers didn't bother me. Sometimes they stand out, sometimes they don't. In this case Joan Crawford was cast in a role she played dozens of times before as the poor girl given a chance at riches and does she grab.
This variation on the Pygmalion theme starts in a café in Trieste where Crawford sings and presumably will do other things for her supper. It's in the red light district of Trieste. Count George Zucco hires her on a whim to prove that clothes and manner do make the individual. Zucco showers Crawford with a new wardrobe giving her the chance to show off those Adrian gowns and gives her two weeks at a resort in the Tyrol where the high society pleasures itself.
To make this last though Crawford has to land a husband and she lands on Robert Young. But he's slightly engaged to Lynne Carver, a sweet young thing. They're traveling with friends Reginald Owen who is a foxy old rogue and married to Billie Burke who has to watch the fox like a hawk.
The local postman Franchot Tone is interested in her, but Crawford figures to do better than him. Her only friend is a former café colleague in Mary Phillips who is working as a maid in that hotel. Though the experiment is Pygmalion like, Crawford feels more like Cinderella with the clock inevitably ticking towards midnight.
I think you can probably figure out where this all ends if you're any kind of film fan and Crawford fan. Dorothy Arzner's direction sharpens the character that Crawford created in Grand Hotel as an anxious to rise stenographer taking her couple of steps lower in society and seeing if she can make the climb.
Franchot Tone who was married to Joan Crawford at the time got a break of sorts in this film. Normally he'd be the society guy who Crawford is trying for. As the common, but somewhat erudite postman for once he's not in formal wear in a film.
Another surprise is Billie Burke who together with Mary Boland and Spring Byington was busy playing delightful airheads in her film. She's quite serious and quite good, but inevitably went back to being typecast after this film was completed.
The Bride Wore Red will please Joan Crawford fans immensely and this is a most typical example of the kind of character she played in her years at MGM.
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