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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 »
Joan Crawford stars in "The Bride Wore Red," a 1937 MGM film based on the play by Ferenc Molnar. Here, it's directed by Dorothy Arzner. Arzner was a fascinating woman - a female director amid a sea of men - very much ahead of her time in her dress, profession, and lifestyle, and highly intelligent. Was she a great director? Hard for me to say. I don't think she always got the best scripts. And in Crawford, she had a headstrong star as well.
The story concerns a poor girl, Anni (Crawford) who sings in a sleazy café (read: with prostitution as a sideline)in the red light district of Trieste. A count she meets believes that the only thing separating the rich from the poor is money - it's not class, it's not breeding, it's not education. To make his point, he sends Anni to a fabulous resort with beautiful new clothes for two weeks. Anni meets Rudi (Robert Young), from an excellent and wealthy family, but he's engaged. With time short, Anni decides that it's Rudi she wants, and is determined to stick it out as long as necessary to get him. But it's not only a lack of funds and Rudi's fiancé standing in her way - it's also the postman, Giulio (Franchot Tone).
Crawford is beautiful, and this was the type of role she played continuously in the 1930s with great success. Tone, Young, and Billie Burke give her good support.
What is this business with the "no European accents" that someone mentioned? Actors do not use European accents when portraying foreigners in their own country or a nearby country. The characters aren't speaking English with a foreign accent in Poland, Switzerland, or Italy. They're speaking another language. If accents were necessary, all Chekov plays would be done with Russian accents. They aren't.
I thought for what this was, the film took a little too long to make its point and was a bit slow in spots. It's not the best Crawford film, but she gives a strong performance as a willful woman determined to marry money. As for Arzner's direction, apparently she couldn't get anywhere with Crawford, so I'll withhold judgment.
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