The beautiful and frivolous wife of a plantation owner in antebellum Louisiana, proves unsatisfactory at running the household, leading her serious-minded husband to enlist the help of her unmarried sister.
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Robert B. Sinclair
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'The toy wife' or how to spoil your own life and the lives of others by being fickle and frivolous. This is the story of Gilberte, a beautiful sixteen-year-old girl who charms, attracts and seduces all the men she meets. Back in Louisiana after a stay in France, she will steal her fiancé from her loving and beloved sister Louise. Once married with George, she will prove a poor mother for little Georgie, a poor manager of the plantation and an unfaithful wife. She indeed starts an affair with André, the dashing young man she actually loves. Tragedy will ensue. Written by
The play "Frou-frou" by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy opened in Paris, France on 30 October 1869. Its English adaptation, "Frou Frou," by Augustin Daly, opened in New York on 15 February 1870. See more »
Like her contemporaries, Garbo and Dietrich, the Vienesse Luise Rainer had both beauty and talent and yet, despite winning two consecutive Best Actress Oscars, failed to achieve the same level of cinematic greatness. Dissatisfied with the way MGM was handling her career, she fled Hollywood in the late 30s and, sadly, audiences today barely know of her work. Here, she had one of her better film roles as Frou-Frou, the flighty Southern Belle, indulged by a wealthy father and doting older sister and, consequently, aware of nothing but her own needs and desires. When she catches the eye of a staid lawyer (humorless Melvyn Douglas), who is charmed by her youthful joy and gaiety, she consents to marriage at the urging of the sister, who is hopeful Frou-Frou will somehow be forced to grow up, and in spite of the sister's own love for the lawyer. When the marriage fails to produce the desired outcome, and sensing the loss of her husband's affection, Frou-Frou drifts into an affair with a wealthy roué, with tragic results. Rainer gives a very fine performance as the innocently destructive Frou-Frou and is an absolutely enchanting presence on screen. With Barbara O'Neil as the more serious-minded older sister, Robert Young, bland as always as Frou-Frou's lover, and H.B. Warner, Alma Kruger and the very pretty black actress Theresa Harris (in a truly offensive role as Frou-Frou's maid. You'd have to see her in something like Miracle On 34th Street to appreciate how very different, and dignified, she really was).
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