Once upon a time, old films on the Late, Late Show were the object of derision, antiquities from another era, now merely of interest as something to chuckle at in the wee small hours of the morning. Happily, those days are gone forever, and vintage films now get the respect they so rightly deserve, no matter what their age, and no one more than I supports this more intelligent, enlightened attitude. But there are still quite a few turkeys lurking in the vaults which deserve the raspberry, but still manage to provide an hour's perverse diversion simply because they are so bad. One such is Bedside. In March 1934, Variety noted that "after being exploited for a solid hour as a gambler, drunkard, cheat and fraud, Warren William is unable in the last three minutes to rehabilitate himself in the grace of the spectator...the chief emotion aroused is regret that he gets the girl instead of taking the jail sentence he very richly deserves...the story is beyond saving, nor is it worth salvage...no picture is better than its plot, and this scenario is hopeless." A classic this is not, but therein lies the secret of its charm. Today's viewers can sit back and watch an abundance of such pre-code plot devices as pre-marital sex and drug addiction, with critical brain operations and bringing the dead back to life merely thrown in as side issues, set against a background of slick 1930's sets, one mind-boggling situation following another, the sum total of which would keep one of today's soaps going for at least six months if not a year. You won't believe a word of it, your jaw will frequently drop at the sheer, shocking absurdity of it all, to say nothing of the fact that the players manage to say their lines with total sincerity, without ever once cracking up. So relax and enjoy it. That's what movies like this are for. Watch for it on Turner Classic Movies; it's in their library.
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