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. ... See full summary »
Mary Turner goes up for three years on a crime she didn't commit. Once out she and former prison mates plan a scam in which old men can be sued for breach of promise - the "heart balm" ... See full summary »
Oxford Professor Richard Myles and new bride Frances are off on a European honeymoon. It isn't your typical honeymoon though, for they are on a spying mission for British intelligence on ... See full summary »
Commercial artist Daisy Kenyon is involved with married lawyer Dan O'Mara, and hopes someday to marry him, if he ever divorces his wife Lucille. She meets returning veteran Peter, a decent ... See full summary »
Millicent Wetherby is a middle-aged woman whose life is devoid of love and affection. Millicent's solitary existence changes when she encounters Burt Hansen a charismatic younger man. As ... See full summary »
Susan Trexel is a wealthy socialite, who while vacationing in Europe undergoes a religious transformation. On her return to America, Susan takes on the task of spreading her new found ... See full summary »
Carnival dancer Lane Bellamy finds herself stranded in a southern town ruled by corrupt political boss Titus Semple. Lane becomes romantically involved with sheriff Fielding Carlisle, a ... See full summary »
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>
Three cast members in studio records/casting call lists did not appear or were not identifiable in the movie. These were (with their character names): Anna Demetrio (Signora Milani), George W. Jimenez (Signor Calla) and Abe Dinovitch (Yodeller). Child actor Bill Burrud is listed as a cast member in some contemporary newspapers, but he was not seen either. See more »
This is a very well made film. The name Ferenc Molnar gives it credibility even though the scriptwriters probably changed everything about the great playwright's original story. It may not be "Liliom" but it has enough European styling and atmosphere - in great part due to Franz Waxman's music and some very easy on the eyes sets - that the viewer feels engaged. The cast of characters is top notch and the whole premise is intriguing. This is the kind of part Greta Garbo had done before ("As You Desire Me" anyone?) but was probably considered too old, too dignified and too un-Italian to play. In that role, the producer's first choice, Luise Rainer, would have been perfect, especially if the ending had been just a trifle more pathetic.
What we get instead is Joan Crawford of the too-long, too-scary face, of the barrel chest and short stubby arms, too-low waist, too-wide shoulders, gorilla dentition, limp hair, decidedly ungirlish attitude and trowelled-on self-confidence. But what she can do with this part is give us an equally scary transformation from vulgar to vamp (and back again) that she is so familiar with, one has to admire its sheer technical acumen. She is fascinating to watch at all times. She could do this in her sleep (and probably did) and manages to strike the right note most of the time, even though she's in the wrong film. The dialogue is remarkably literate and Crawford's performance is certainly nuanced and theatrical enough to have been believable on a stage.
The whole cast is excellent, with a special mention to Mary Philips as the maid and confidante Maria and Paul Porcasi as the irascible hotel manager. It's also touching to see Crawford emote with her husband of the time, Franchot Tone, who seems to be quietly directing her in such a way that she doesn't go overboard at least in their love scenes.
One has the feeling that the original play must have had a lot more bite and satire of the upper classes as well as more profundity than what we're getting but it's still a pretty spectacular ensemble performance all around. With that limited script, director Dorothy Arzner does everything she can to make the story believable and engrossing, to work around her megastar's familiar tricks and to add poetic grace notes that are not lost on a European public but were probably overlooked by the American audience and critics of the time. Still, with all its disparate moments of brilliance, this film begs the question: What was Molnar's play really about?
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