Liliom, a merry-go-round barker at a Budapest amusement park, becomes enamored of Julie, a servant girl, and though under the influence of Madame Muskat, a sideshow entrepreneur, he marries...
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Liliom, a merry-go-round barker at a Budapest amusement park, becomes enamored of Julie, a servant girl, and though under the influence of Madame Muskat, a sideshow entrepreneur, he marries the girl. Although he has not been a good provider, Liliom is spurred into action by the discovery that his wife is pregnant and eventually is influenced by his friend Buzzard, to rob a bank cashier so that he can take Julie to America.
There is indeed much to complain about this movie version of Molnar's mystical play --Farrell looks good in his title role, but his line readings, frankly, stink. This also suffers, in large part, from this being credited as the first movie that makes use of rear projection. The sets look phony.
There are two great strengths in this show, however: although the dialogue readings limp, the visual performances are perfect. Rose Hobart, as Julie, is little remembered today: mostly for ROSE HOBART, in which Joseph Cornell cut down the programmer EAST OF BORNEO to simply shots of her: credit Melford's stylish visual direction of the original. Her great beauty and simple (although stagy) performance help repair some of the damage to the earth-bound sections of this movie.
However, one of Borzage's themes is the mystical power of love, and it is the handling of the celestial sections that make this great, from the arrival of the celestial train to the journey to 'the Hot Place'. H.B. Warner's performance here is, as always, perfect.
So we have here a flawed but very interesting version. I think that Lang's 1934 version is better, as well as the celestial scenes in the Henry King version of CAROUSEL, the watered-down musical remake. But I still greatly enjoyed this version and think you should give it a chance.
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