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Edward G. Robinson,
Heiress Carol Owen learns to fly from aeronautical engineer Jim Leonard who begins neglecting his work as their affair progresses. Things get complicated when she learns her father died penniless and that she has been being supported by her financial advisor, and now suitor, Bruce Hardy.Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
LOVE AFFAIR (Columbia, 1932), directed by Thornton Freeland, is a minor second feature drama starring former Warner Brothers star, Dorothy MacKaill, opposite future Warner Brother star, Humphrey Bogart. Though the title bears no relation to the LOVE STORY (RKO, 1939) starring Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer (remade most famously as AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER (1957) starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr), this 68 minute production, taken from a story by Ursula Parrott, offers little interest except for the presence of young Humphrey Bogart in one of his earliest screen appearances.
Plot summary: Carol Owen (Dorothy MacKaill), a carefree heiress, is first seen at Antone's (Harold Minjir) salon getting all dolled up for an event that's to take place that day. After taking flying lessons at Gilligan's (Jack Kennedy) flying school, she's to now take her first flight in the air. Refusing the guidance of Eddie (Frank Rice), she chooses a much younger instructor, Jim Leonard (Humphrey Bogart). Following her flight in the air, she takes Jim on a wild car wide in her roadster back to town. She stops at her home where Jim is introduced to her society friends. Bored and feeling out of place, Jim, totally ignored, leaves without notice. Carol comes to Jim's apartment where she learns his plans on leaving aviation school to dedicate his time working on and trying to promote his new airplane motor. Because of her interest in Jim, Carol arranges for Bruce Hardy (Hale Hamilton), a Wall Street tycoon and her financial adviser, to finance Jim $5,000 for his motor for him to form his Leonard Motor Company. In the meantime, Jim has a younger sister, Linda (Astrid Allwyn), an aspiring young actress working under the name of Linda Lee, who isn't what she appears to be. She not only supported and living in the luxurious apartment of Bruce Hardy, who loves Carol, but she's been using his financial means for Georgie Keeler (Bradley Page), a suave Broadway producer, to use for his show where Linda is to appear. Problems arise when Carol, learning that she is broke, to become engaged to Bruce and marry him for his money after promising Jim she loves nobody else but him. Also in the supporting cast are: Halliwell Hobbes (Kibbee, Dorothy's butler); and Barbara Leonard (Felice, the French hair stylist).
As much as there is no real love affair to mention, LOVE AFFAIR is actually two separate stories for the price of one, each involving either Jim and his sister. Dorothy MacKaill's character is very much the aggressor going after and getting what she wants, Dressed mostly in fur coat and high-fashion clothes, MacKaill may be best known for her pre-code melodrama, SAFE IN HELL (Warner Brothers, 1931), which is often claimed to be her finest work in the early sound era. Humphrey Bogart, in a role that might have gone to the likes of a Ralph Bellamy, Pat O'Brien or a Ben Lyon, might seem to be an odd choice as her male co-star. Though type-cast later in gangster roles or bad-guys, Bogart would prove his worth as a romantic-type in the 1940s, especially in the Academy Award winning drama, CASABLANCA (1943). Yet, LOVE AFFAIR would prove more interesting viewing today mainly due to Bogart's presence than the rediscovery of Dorothy MacKaill. Astrid Allwyn as Bogart's sister, interestingly, appeared also in the better known 1939 edition of LOVE AFFAIR as well.
Never distributed to home video, LOVE AFFAIR did become available on DVD . It's cable television broadcasts were mainly on Turner Classic Movies in 1994, with brief revivals later in 2009 and 2011, around the same time TCM unearthed many other obscure films of the Columbia Pictures library from the 1930s and 1940s. (**)
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