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One More River (1934)
A Brilliant James Whale Film
This film, along with JOURNEY'S END, ranks as James Whale's best non horror film. Not only does he follow the Galsworthy book closely,trimming it down to a manageable length...he also navigates the brand new production code with ease. Where Whale really shines is his mastery at casting. He, more than any other director, "painted" with actors and actresses.
Every character was perfection: Whale knew these people very well, and it shows.
I have heard many times that ONE MORE RIVER was British made, but it wasn't. It was made at Universal Studios in California, and I think "Jimmy" would have been proud.
I won't give any plot details, because I don't want to risk spoilers...but I give "Full Marks" to the leading players: Colin Clive, as a superb "rotter" in an "Old School Tie",Diana Wynyard as his gentle wife, Jane Wyatt as Wynyard's younger sister and Frank Lawton as a friendly young man whose life is blasted by a society scandal. The whole film is a delight.
Jane Eyre (1934)
Pretty bad, but bearable
I agree. This was not Bronte,and it was definitely NOT Jane Eyre. It was, however, MONOGRAM!!! Please don't blame the poor actors. The studio game them nothing to work with. Virginia Bruce was a lovely girl, and an up and coming MGM star. Colin Clive was classically trained in the British theatre and had 10 years of repertory work under his belt. You know what that means. One week you might be playing a country parson, and the next week, Shakespeare. They both had earned their acting chops. Unfortunately, the majority of Monogram's budget probably went to pay the stars, and their was little left for anything else. We're talking prehistoric sound equipment, high school dramatic writing, and summer stock wardrobe. For a 1934 film, the tech aspects were strictly 1919. I'm sure that at the end of shooting, the stars politely shook hands, grabbed their cheques and ran like Hell! I know that if Clive had made Jane Eyre at Universal, with the same quality as their Great Expectations, he would have knocked Orson Welles flat! (g) JS