When Clive Randolph finally returns "home" from Gold Coast colony, younger brother John balks at following the family Colonial Service tradition. But back in Gold Coast, one Zurof, ... See full summary »
Rowland V. Lee
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.,
Oxford Professor Richard Myles and new bride Frances are off on a European honeymoon. It isn't your typical honeymoon though, for they are on a spying mission for British intelligence on ... See full summary »
The fascinating Grace Herbert has many years' experience as a professional gold-digger. Her finances at a low ebb, she finds her mature beauty less effective than of yore, and takes on ... See full summary »
It's 1930 in a European metropolis. Lisa Koslov, a young, innocent woman, is a student of piano at the city's music conservatory. She is without her mother for a few days for the first time in her life, her mother, out of town on family business, who she cannot turn to at this time for advice in dealing with the advances of an older man, who she will learn is famed composer/conductor/pianist Michael Michailow. Despite not feeling that spending time with Michael is the right thing, she is unable to fend off his advances, which he is able to manipulate to his advantage. Lisa is on a night out at a cabaret with Michael when the cabaret's aging singer, Vera Kowalska, spots Lisa and Michael in the audience, Vera who shoots Michael dead before he and Lisa can leave. At Vera's murder trial where Lisa is among the eyewitnesses testifying for the prosecution, Vera readily admits that she shot Michael, but she will not talk otherwise to defend herself by providing justifying reasons for her ... Written by
Director Joe May was so determined to make this a close remake of the German film Mazurka (1935) that he kept a print of "Mazurka" on the set and frequently ran sections of it, to the annoyance of the new film's cast. In addition to copying the German original shot-by-shot in many scenes, this film also reuses the original score and songs. See more »
A remake of a 1935 film called MAZURKA and starring Pola Negri, Warners bought the rights and imported the story for Kay Francis, then the studio's #1 female star.
Francis is nothing short of sensational in this film, a story about a woman wronged, motherly love, honor, and sacrifice. By today's standards this all seemed like high fiction, but in the hands of Francis and director Joe May, this becomes a very stylish and absorbing film.
The direction and camera work are excellent. The music is also very good and helps set the scene. The supporting cast is very good also: Basil Rathbone, Jane Bryan, Veda Ann Borg, Ian Hunter, Laura Hope Crews, Donald Crisp, Robert Barrat, Ben Welden, and Mary Maguire.
Francis is stunning here, mostly as a blonde. And she's quite believable as a singer, although the operetta is rather lame. Still she does well with lip syncing to several songs. But she's never turned in a better performance, going from the girlish singer in love, to the bored housewife who drinks a tad too much at a party, to the accused in a murder case. It's a tour de force performance that should have earned her an Oscar nomination.
The film is beautifully directed by Joe May which is a surprise. A few years before this, May butchered a promising film version of the hit show MUSIC IN THE AIR which starred Gloria Swanson and John Boles. But here his direction is excellent, with lots of interesting camera angles and movement and some terrific composition. He certainly makes the most of the 86 minutes he has.
They just don't make movies like this any more. This one has a good story, crisp pacing, and stunning work from one of the decades biggest and most underrated stars: KAY FRANCIS.
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