Even if it is around 100 years ago, there
Even if it is around 100 years ago, there
But all the positives are taken out due to the story-line and unexplainable behaviour of the characters, the plot demanded, though they did try to somewhat make it passable. But even those excellent acting by the above four really can't overcome all.
Since the story and the positives had been already discussed in around hundred reviews (till date), I will digress form it, and look at the characters and their mis(behavior).
Some of them I will leave aside - as not important - even like Slim or Carney they had a very small role. The total family of Benson anyway misbehaved. You don't expect the ex-bodyguard of President to keep still, and let the incumbent be assassinated - after talking about the duty etc to his arms-phobic DIL, widow of a soldier. Nor you can expect the highly provocative behavior of Charney (Pidge) and expect to survive - scratch-free, except a slap. In fact, when the President was getting shot, Nancy, having a gun in her hand, didn't shoot.
Naturally, in normal case, I would have taken this behavioral aspect of any common person, who, to keep their skin safe, don't interfere. The family of three did it. In fact they did get a few chances to rush the criminals, but they didn't, as we see in real life too, people rarely do. But this wasn't a common one, nor a common family or circumstances, almost certainly after operation, all would have been dead, it was spelt out, and Baron's denial wasn't convincing, even to audience. Any good actor, in that role, wasn't supposed to be either. That's why, despite all, full marks go to only Sinatra. In these situations, we have seen some of the people rushing the suicidal squad, getting martyred, but saving scores - that is a human psychology too "anyway we are as good as dead".
Sinatra's behaviour is another thing which had been explained well in the movie, though in bits and pieces. From the beginning, as child of unwed mother, to the war and his own raw nerve regarding his killings of Germans, in the war. Even the circumstances had been brought out, almost in words., but still didn't leave much to imagination. And though he started as psychopath, but we come across news of so many, whose frame of mind are so distorted by the travails of war/ peace (keeping), that they become one. I don't see anything much abnormal in his character, which would produce many similar, post Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan,... misadventures. The mindset is elsewhere too, but US has advantage, of having a gun in hand, which is a bit difficult elsewhere. Equal to Sinatra, the characters played by his two side-kicks are equally commendable. They don't really have the 'Carlos the Jackal' mentality. One is timid to the point of almost cowardish, and the other is much more disciplined, though he too has his doubts about the utility of the operation. Both had played their parts well.
The fourth in the merit rank - Hayden (as Sheriff) - was good in acting, but the character was several times unexplainable. Especially his provoking Baron, who would as well shot him dead - considering he wasn't the main hostage (Pidge, the kid was), and with his physique itself, he could have been a big-risk. And in one place, he didn't only touch Baron's rawest nerve, but even rubbed chilly and salt on it thoroughly. I don't see, why Baron didn't team him up with Carney. This much of provocation was unnecessary. The important thing that did come out, could have through some flash-backs. The TV repairman, Jud was OK, but his standing there wasn't natural, inviting to be shot. There are too many weaknesses on this line.
Overall - good as a thriller, especially due to its short length, excellent as far as Sinatra is concerned. Even his character, especially in modern day context is totally believable. Rest is far below average, to balance the things out.
Clara played the role of a teenage show girl - and I was surprised to see she did look mid-teen, even at the mid twenties, some of the activities, I don't know directed, or naturally, like scratching her legs while talking to Arlen, showed the 'girlish' mind. She looked quite lovely. may be a bit overacting by today's standard, but I would rather say it was quite good, considering that this was one of the transition era movies, when talkies were not even infant, may be almost in pre-natal ward.
Kay has played a bit of complicated role, of being in love with the lesser of the group, but ready to flirt with the star, so that the bacon is ensured at home, even going to the extent of hiding her marriage, so that the allure on the star isn't lost. Well, one could call that manipulative/ heartless, but it might as well be survival instinct. After walking out, the couple had miserably failed, and were on almost dole, till the Star brought them, or her, back.
One probably weakness I could find - sacking of the girl - the owner, and his wife behaved almost like parents of the girls, and this looked to be the favorite 'daughter'. Sacking was really unexpected, but may be he said that at the heat of the moment, and the girl took it seriously. Unless she was thrown on street, there won't have been the drama.
Poor direction, but still, Joan almost made it into watchable.
The three lovers she had - and it was said so by Henri Danglard (Gabin) too - characterized three facets - Steadiness (Paulo), Wealth (Prince Alex) and He(Art) (Danglard). With each of them completely lacking the other two properties, it would have been really difficult for her to make a choice. In addition there was the age factor too - Boy, Right-age Man, and Ageing Man. She fell at one time or other for each, but it was interesting to note (and brought out very well her) - not the call of flesh - but the motherly instinct - to protect the one she loved (she did each), and one in most need, she offered the only thing she could, herself (She was equally, or may be poorer than others). This particular depiction, brought out, but not spelt out, may be contrary to the Gender Movements, but thinking of it, might be natural too? For a woman to comfort and protect her dear ones, with the way she thought she could, especially when this particular one needed more than others ? It wasn't really shifting of affection, but sharing it. The scales were of course slightly skewed in favour of one of them, but even that was natural.
The movie is great not because of Gabin, but because of Nini - handling that complexity, and naturally, without any discord in my sensibility. And in fact the ending, quite ambiguous, didn't disappoint.
But even he is the background in this movie, the carrier of the virus, the main character is the name sake Katharina Blum, the suspected infected person.
A simple and normal girl, unfortunately pretty, and desirable, had a bad marriage, and divorced. Then she became the mistress of a millionaire, who naturally showered largess on her. In a chance encounter, she was exposed to something she had never been, "Tenderness" and after the one night stand - with the Enemy of the State (who was monitored by the state), she was promptly arrested and exposed to the "judicial" interrogation.
Probably that by itself could have been somewhat bearable, but the other unbridled power too takes an undue interest. To emphasise, in today's society, there are only two unquestionably unbridled power - the Judiciary and the Media - none of which can be questioned (Freedom of Press), and when both work in the same motive, to destroy some one, the defense or sanity is difficult to maintain in face of that assault - and especially when one is really innocent, and hence even more powerless and vulnerable.
It is not that the two didn't know of their victim's innocence (they even mentioned it), but the call of 'Duty' - for one to catch the Enemy and for other the TRP, are of prime importance, some one, especially not of the 'family' is completely expendable. Though she had her supporters, her employers, her relatives, friends, but the movie displayed clearly - how with these two powers bent on a full assault, the supporters too could be forced into silence (every one has some skeleton, even if small, in some ancestral cupboard). With the press in tow, doing what it does even today, probably even more today, entirely distorting, even fabricating, if they can't selectively disclose, with a single intention - to make the case juicier - which can only come through painting the victim in darker and darker shades - of course with color.
Naturally it causes irreparable damage to the person, even if perchance the person is set free. Thankfully this movie, that's why it is masterpiece, didn't shy away from it.
There are quite a few movies on similar subject - the destruction of individuals (but though these are individuals, but the victims could be made general, since it happens with many). Each of these, Garde A Vue, Stadt ohne Mitleid (Town without pity), Salo, Death Watch, .. there are several I have come across, and none are less than masterpiece. Probably because these ring a chord ?
These movies may be seen to be promoting anarchism, being against state - but in fact they are not. Since these shows how uncontrolled power - destroys the very ones for whose sake the power had been granted to. It isn't only the state, where the anarchists hold power, the same thing happens, to the 'innocents'.
The misuse of 'Freedom of Press' of of 'Judiciary' or 'State' - which is to keep it 'Free' from other 'Powers' - makes the very people victims, for the protection of whom this 'Freedom' is given.
The But... factor comes due to - unfortunately the only print that seems to be available isn't very good . The audio of course is good, and the picture quality is not too snowy. It is quite watchable, and characters recognisable, though sharpness is missing, with that I am sure I would have enjoyed it much more. But I am still glad to put my hand on the DVD, even in this shape.
The plot is: the hero, just six month in his marriage to his childhood sweetheart is drafted and packed off to London - pining for his wife and her Chocolate Cake (an important piece of evidence, so can't fail to mention that). In the bomb shelters - where he takes intermittent shelter - he comes across an old man, who, he doesn't realise then, is from the nobility.
It is his second wedding anniversary, of which 18 months are away, pining for each other, when an unexpected opportunity comes his way. His close friends, from the AIrforce, are to fly to US on a mission, and our Hero, has been given three day pass. So his friends encourage him to go technically AWOL, and hitch-fly to US and wife, with them. Despite many risks, including an unexpected additional passenger, a top General, he manages to spend a night with his wife, and successfully comes back before the three days are over, with his wife's prize cake, shared by the friends, and Sir Archibald, the old man in bomb-shelter. He has met the wife in the sly, and she was asked not to tell any one (else, he would be court-martial-ed). When he comes back from war, the strange looks from all in his town befuddles him, till he comes to know his wife has become a mother. Naturally for all, except him, a result of her immorality. That was nothing he was too worried about, but there was a legacy from his ancestor - a half million for his son, provided he was born within a certain date, which was just a week away. He know it is his son, his wife does, but no one else does, or even believes him.
He has to save his wife's honour and his son'e legacy. There are quite a few witnesses in his escapade. He runs around each of them, to corroborate his crime, but each have their reason to deny.
The pilots, as well as the crew of the aircraft - for assisting an AWOL, will be themselves stripped off their ranks and face court-martial. The General doesn't remember, which is natural. His townsman was with his flame, so naturally can't 'remember'. The local newspaper proprietor, and the show girl (Gail Patrick) in the club the friends had visited, whiling away the time for his train to home believe him, but that's not a proof. The proof is obtained - with help of the show girl, who helps him and tells him the reason too, since he has beaten up her husband !
A bit of circumstantial fitting of jigsaw - (the mission and the pass coinciding, or the crucial piece of witness being in the vicinity etc). But still those don't rankle.
Pacing of the movie is excellent. Except two (Gail and Walburn, the man with mistress at the club) - all are unknown to me. But they performed very well.
To end - I wish a better and remastered DVD is brought out, by the studio or some one other. I am surprised why this delightful movie has gone into oblivion.
As a footnote - I am not sure - whether the person would get away - despite being discharged - for the crime while in uniform (AWOL) ? Or he was to be still tried, in civil/ military court for it ? It doesn't matter of course, since he was ready for even a prison sentence, for his son and his wife.
Though it was pre-Maisie - but the role was almost similar to the Maisie roles Sothern was to play later - and she fitted perfectly in it. And despite being partial to Ameche, I found Lowe much more convincing. The tough ruthless slave-driver might not have been Ameche's cup of tea.
But the main fault in this version wasn't actors. Lamour wasn't too far behind Sothern in that department, at least in this movie. It was in conceptualization/ direction. The clamour for Swedish actress was understood (Garbo was the Queen then - and with her neighbor, Dietrich etc, one could justify the attraction of Swedish Miss'. But in this era - Bardot or her neighbors, Loren, Gina etc were yet to be born (on screen) - in fact another lovely Swede, Bergman was still reigning - though about to go Italian. In addition to these, critical factors, which was necessary for the movie, there were quite a few other unconvincing episodes (e.g. Lamour's first meeting with the producer (Willard Parker). She had been trained to be french, she knows why, so she simply won't be acting American, while interacting with an unknown person, that too at home.
My recommendation is to watch the far superior 1933 movie.
To be frank, it is quite watchable. But, while watching it, I started to wonder.
All the female leads in the movie had been good or may be a bit more than plain good - especially the three major leads, Nancy, Roth and Jobyna. The other two females too - Zasu and Mitzi lived up to the characters - despite extremely irritating characters assigned to them. But it miserably failed in male leads - both Stanley Smith and Skeets Galagher. They were not only wooden, but completely 'unnatural'. Only Harry Green could save the gender blushes.
It made me wonder - about the gender gap on those ages - Not only these two, but the super-stars - e.g. Pickford, Gish, Garbo,... - I could almost say most of the women were - knowingly or unknowingly, using at least part of Stanislavski's method. But what was wrong with the men ? I don't remember any, who was using something remotely similar (may be except Keaton, sometime, probably aided by his blank-demeanor) ? Every one, including Mr Pickford (i.e. Fairbanks) continued to do exaggerated acting. It was another couple of years (after this movie that is) when it slowly followed women's foot-steps and started getting naturalised - but most of them had entered the arena in the talkie era.
Was it the type of roles which forced the two different schools across gender - the basically maudlin/ melodramatic roles for women, which needed subtlety vs the cave-man/ San and Sword type of roles of males - that needed excess limb-muscles and less face-muscle exercise ? In this movie of course they were at disadvantage - there was not much scope of limb-muscle exercise, and that could be seen by the stiffness - even while walking. And looking back, I saw that in a few major silent stars - in talkie era - e.g. Gilbert - where it wasn't dialogue delivery or even the voice spectrum, but rather the extra real acting effort required in talkies - through facial expressions, that must have failed him. Probably that's why only limited male silents succeeded in talkie, but many women did and relatively one could say thrived too for quite some time (not only Gish and Garbo, but Shearer, Crawford etc several names come to mind, who didn't become sore to senses).
This is a neat RomCom, with a bit of music thrown in (not very hummable though). The basic premise is- two friend - but friendly-foe business partners make a strange pact while starting the business. Their children, not yet born, would marry.
The basic premise was that the children would be the only offspring of the respective parents, and they would be of opposite genders (the same gender marriage was not something one could openly talk about in 1940s) unless one wanted to be Oscar Wilde-ed. Anyway as things has to happen, this being a movie, the babies, not yet born, are born accordingly, and the absence/ non mention of either mothers, seem to be the reason of their being only child.
On marriage, the newly-weds was to be gifted one third of the empire. But there was a catch- if they don't, then the refusing offspring loses his/her portion and the injured (refused) son/daughter gets the whole of the third portion. And in that case, it also creates a stake unbalance - since effectively the injured child's family (father) would be two-third share holder.
The two pawns in the father's board - have their own mind. One (the son) is a habitual skirt-chaser (especially of his secretaries') whereas the girl - educated in Europe used to fall for the Stiff-collared nobility - the current fiancee being a count. Both being aware of the condition - in fact the whole organisation was aware of it - manipulates the conditions so that the other one is forced to refuse the alliance. The girl, the smarter one, hires a rough-edged girl as her decoy, while she masquerades as the secretary. The Boy, believing the masquerade, acts smartly, and sets up a man to woo the (false) heiress. The girl in between gets an extra edge - she comes to know of the boy's identity - by his own mouth, he having been fallen in love with the 'secretary'. The girl too reciprocates, but refusing to admit to him, or even herself. And anyway she was deeply enmeshed into her own web of deceit - and only way for her was - whether to gain the financial advantage (or gracefully, and especially as she was in love) to forego it - but anyway her fate - as far as she was concerned was practically sealed, the moment the boy comes to know the deception. Naturally things have to sort out - and that would need a few more gold -diggers.
The movie has only gold-diggers - the two fathers, their children, the decoy, the man set up by the boy to romance decoy, and a few more (one of them would be spoiler). Thankfully Castro wasn't there yet - since one of the condition was that the marriage should take place in Havana - where they have drawn up their contract. Though funnily all the romance et al takes place at Miami - not really Cuba - though the nearest to it. Of course the ending complexity wasn't required, considering the step taken by the fathers. In fact they shouldn't have taken it, for the movie's sake - to keep the complexity alive).
Lucille (Catherine) is the mistress of a rich man Charles (Picoli), living the life of not only luxury but over indulgence. Charles not only over indulges her (having made a croquet field in at his home, for her to practice her below-par - for others, not for him, game - but also doesn't make any demand on her, letting her in fact to live a life of her own way. There is a few hints, that Lucille is mistress by choice, happy to have an unencumbered life, rather than been tied with Charles, despite him not making any demand, even of fidelity on her. Even she walks out on him, with the young, but poor, lover (Antoine), he doesn't try to bribe her back, and even extend all the help and company to her, when she needed. The young lover however is almost in opposite pole, not only in age but in mind too. He wants Lucille to live 'his' life. Even coercing her to fall in line - getting a job, not aborting the baby, watching a horror movie (despite her dislike for it)....
In the end the question is raised - for her as well as viewers - what is true love - or who of the two men is the true lover - unlike what the movie, or rather the critics and the synopsis seem to indicate, the wealth, might be a factor, but not THE factor, which tilts the balance. It all boils down to the physical attraction, which is mutual, versus the all effacing care. And I sympathize with Lucille's choice - who, in the words of her favourite author (in the movie at least), Faulkner - decided that "True love isn't because, but it is despite..." and went ahead with it.
Of course unlike the novel - in the movie it isn't shown where Lucille is heading to. She has called one of them to break off, but that doesn't rally mean she is going to the other, she could as well be walking off, to be "Alone" ? As the novelist herself did in real life - and a few years before this novel was written ? Well there was a difference though - with the young lover(husband) - she did have a child - didn't abort it. The character, as portrayed by Catherine, is free and individualistic (different from feminist) , hence even the third option existed.
Some of the reviews talk about monogamy - but it is interesting to note here - both the men were so. Even when she had walked out, replacement wasn't sought or thought. With a gender reversal of characters - would still it be a monogamy issue ?
Among other actors, only Auteuill tried to reach the uncompareable Raimu, though still trailed by quite a distance, all other were too far behind to their counterparts to be even seen - and that includes, naturally the two who enacted Patricia - Astrid didn't stand a chance against Josette.
The other - and very major error in this version was the dialogues - certain critical dialogues were reworded, for somewhat different meaning, even a word mattered e.g. "Si vous voulez aller vite, j'aurai pas peur" - the voulez was skipped in 2011 - and that, with the acting, changed the complexion - from diffident and shy to a bit more encouraging. Considering the period of WW-1 had been retained in the 2011 version too (though they couldn't manage to get an authentic pre-historic motorcycle). But unfortunately, the behavior of the girl was modern - while Day maintained arms distance while pillion riding, Astrid was clinging to him. And of course, probably to cut down half an hour - some segments have to be compromised - but a few were important ones - for example the clash between Amoretti Sr. (Raimu) and Mozels at the field - over the grandson - which went to the lost son - was trimmed - missing a very critical comment by Raimu - the pain for the daughter - who wasn't dead, but dead for him, though the love for her wasn't , versus their grief for the son, who was really dead. A few wthat were sacrificed, didn't matter much (for example towards the end, over the shape of the nose of the baby), but quite a few did, and it also changed the context, by the re-phrases.
Probably haven't I watched the other, this would have been OK, but after that, naturally I am forced to give comparative grading - 8.5 vs 6 - and none on the story - which is sweet, charming and romantic, but not something too extraordinary. The marks all go to acting as well as direction/ visualisation.
Watch the 1940, skip this.
The villainy of Simon (Barrymore) starts from the fist scene he featured - when he uses insider information in stock trading, and continues through theatrics and manipulating, even unfairly and probably illegally, the jurors in court (not shown, but expressed by his clients and colleagues), to quite unfair/immoral black-mailing of his antagonist. Barrymore convincingly played the role given, but then the family, all the movies I have seen of them, including sister Ethel, had been consummate performers, so nothing too strange in that. The top performance awards goes to him, as well as Bebe, the clearly in love, but keeping it in her chest, secretary. She too brought out the nuances of the suffering exceptionally well. Almost all the actors in fact played their part well, and I don't find much of a eyesore in any of them.
The things that bothered me were - foremost - the role of Herbert Weinberg (played by Marvin Kline). I won't say it was his fault, rather the conceptualisation of the role. He was in love with Bebe Daniels - but his repetitive attempts at taking her out, in face of polite but firm and very clear-messaged rebuffs were a bit tiring. Another role which slightly irritated me was of Angela Jacobs (Tedesco's secretary) - again due to repetitiousness.
The lighter element, to ease the stress was already well covered by the three office staff - Isabel Jewell, Robert Gordon and Conway Washburne.
Anyway, despite these two shortcomings this flick gets the thumbs up - thanks to Barrymore and Bebe. And to think of, Barrymore didn't get even an "Also Ran" in that year's Academy Award !
Of all these characters - there is only one angel (naturally the wife) and all other are in opposing camp. Some are willingly - the Mother-In law and her brother, the uncle - due to hatred of the mesalliance, the cousin, due to snobbery, and the cousin'e seducer husband - due to call of the flesh, and one, the husband, unwillingly, having been completely brainwashed against the wife. I won't find anything against the plot - though a soap, if there was one. But unfortunately for that to pull through the characters should be believable. The roles can become believable only when the actors portraying the roles integrate into it.
Unfortunately in this movie - except Nancy Carroll, no one could. I could only give an 'attempt to' credit to the husband, portrayed by Arlen - though not very convincingly. But all other - probably didn't get over the hang-over of Silent times - and acted as if in Theater - through limbs rather than the face - and the major culprit in it was the second most important character in the movie, the Mother In law. Even John Litel, the cousin-in-law wasn't too convincing as the one who was coveting the heroine and ready to go to any extent (I wonder what happened to him, after he was rebuffed? he simply went out of the movie radar) Whatever stars are there are for Nancy, she looked, acted, and convinced me to be angelic - and half of a star for plot - that isn't unconvincing - if it became so - it was due to the other actors, who added to the negative marks. Watchable for those who liked Nancy, after all she has more than half of screen time, otherwise, just one of the mediocre - or a notch below movie.
But the most captivating person in the whole narrative was Charles Butterworth as the Duke - though elected one - as the two condemned tailors mentioned of voting for him in the election. That is one role which had been added, no similar character existed in original - but with real "Effect". Afterwards, I realised, his character was based almost on "Vitalstatistix" and how... !
Unlike all other adaptations of this drama - I have seen quite a few - this was entirely new and refreshing look at the plot.
Highly recommended - but for the quality of the picture - from the DVD I bought from Vic, no one probably bothered to remaster this - thankfully the sound was still excellent, and that took a lot of sting out.
I will for the time being overlook the propaganda (anti red) aspect - that is because unlike any other movie industry, of any other country (and I would not exclude even the 3R from the list) , Hollywood had always been the proxy for Government policies, and had been making movies to mould the public sentiment towards it. In fact it is quite unfortunate - but the Government wanted it - that the "anti-war" sentiment of the Student leader had been ridiculed in the movie - for the historians - probably the assassination of the Socialist and Antiwar icon, Jean Jaurès, (who in fact preached exactly what the Villain, Arner, was preaching) culminated in WW-1. Probably - or most likely - had he not been assassinated, the WW1 - and its result, rise of Nazis and WW2 itself was avoidable. But those are wishful thinking, with the Governments as war-hawks, financed by armament manufacturers, moulding the population through all media, may be he would have failed in long term. I will, despite my stron opposition to it, overlook this transgression, and with that, the movie in fact is quite enjoyable. As predecessor to It Happened One Night - naturally it calls for comparison. Even in that - I won't really say this wasn't in contention. But that is my opinion - I personally prefer the 'B' star, Young over superstar gable, and Barbara anyway is better looking than Colbert - and none of the two are deficient in acting faculty either. Even the suffering father, Purnell Pratt, was quite charming, as much as Walter, and probably a bit more, due to his not being as rumbustious as Connolly. Only the unwanted fiance Hardie Albright (as Leonard Arner) was a bit disappointing - here he had meatier role, but that weakness were more than compensated by Cliff Edwards (as P.J. Rooney).
Well - over all another too underrated - definitely watchable movie - just one have to adjust for the misplaced prejudice.
The story might seem outdated - today those strict morality isn't really found - except on certain extremely orthodox countries (we find reports of girls escaping and seeking asylum). Of course the war is a long forgotten memory.
But it is not necessary to look it into those angles. From another angle, the situations may not be too different, even today.
The war was not the centre piece of the movie plot, it could be any other major crisis. So, I would conveniently be neglecting that.
It is an orthodox society - with class distinction. They still exist - if not by blood, by money, or by fame, or any of those factors which make the blood blue today. Naturally one rarely finds an mes-alliance in these bloods even today - similar having strong attraction, and different are strongly frowned by similar - of both side. So what happened here was not too remotely imaginable in this day. In addition the type of relationship - one woman with two men, together - naturally reversal of genders, in the patriarchal society, won't have raised to many eyebrows - but this would raise even today. And not only this - think of any socially not too acceptable relationships - same-gender, or cross-gender - won't the scene repeat in too many homes ? Including the families (here father) ready to embrace the prodigal daughter, but plotting to bring her back to the well-trodden and acceptable path ? Note: it could be son too, the gender doesn't matter, though for daughters, even today, parents would make that extra effort- till the society's frown becomes too dark, even for them to withstand, despite their own power.
There are definite plus points in the movie, Willeke (Louisa) lived to the role, looking every bit well-brought up but human youngster. The want, to break free of oppression was there, and she did it, of romantic, non-physical, urge. The two main characters portraying Pierre and Paul too aptly executed their role. Others, too were not too eyesore, Ivan especially. Isabelle, in reality too was too young to play the nuances, and I will overlook that. The story was quite adorable, though there were a couple of negatives. First is of course the poster, and the corresponding scene - these were only in three segments - altogether may be just a couple of minutes - of those the real risque were a few second, these could have been avoided, without much loss. For example, the reflection in river was sufficient. Second is the ending - the sea scene was not necessary - even to prove the fulfillment of promise made. What would happen to each of the characters could be guessed - not only by the society's acceptance at a later date - but even before that by the wine spilling in the party. Thankfully it reached a logical conclusion, not going to things fantastic. I would give it a 8 for Louisa, plot and relevance, pacing, remove 1 for the nude and the ending, even for the very last 10-15 seconds, and add the one back - to compensate for the score of other reviewers.
There are minor differences in the two - and that comes in in the middle itself, so this is no spoiler. Unlike in the Bedtime story - in this case the kid is really his son, and the nanny is - well not his wife, but the kids mother. Hiding the relationship, and reforming him, and making him fall in love with her is the crux of the matter.
In the two - my personal bias would tilt it in favour of Ruhmann (in this movie) against Chevalier (in the other), and that would seal it - since the movie moves around the new father, the romantic other gender lead (Carola Höhn vs Helen Twelvetrees) have lesser scope - but here too, the first one scores, due to more restrained acting. The movie is quite enjoyable - and scores on this point a few points more than the others, especially in Carola's igniting jealousy in Peter (Ruhmann) - by exposure of her 'affair' - though by accident, but expertly using it to her advantage. But there has been a very weak point, which could have been re-programmed. This was in bringing in (the world) the baby. Margaret (Carola)'s version was - it was in masked carnival which created the baby. Well there had been so many movies with one-night stands with this same result, so I won't go into that, but the masked carnival aspect is a bit too unbelievable. Not only the non-unmasking in the bed, but also, the playboys of his type (as depicted), would be more on charming the women in submission (his lot of faithful girlfriends and ex-girlfriends were a symbol of it), which could be a few day's affair, at least, and by then she would be unmasked. This could have been better 'plotted' - with plausible explanation of his not recognizing the mother - even the factor that she was 'underage' at that time could have been stressed, since there could be lot of feature changes in an underage girl to a girl in twenties, and in a short conquest, one might forget one of many such. Second thing that bothered me was - and this was easily rectifiable - the child recognizing some other women as mother - the rectification could have been by brainwashing the kid by the father that "We are going to meet your mother, who have deserted you" and the third weakness was the kid not recognizing his 'aunt'/mother who had adopted him back from the orphanage as an aunt, once she came to age. But all these are for fault finders like me. Otherwise, I could successfully watch the movie in one sitting - and that is good enough excuse to give it stars - probably the greater part of the credit goes to Ruhmann.
This movie is well adapted to the original one, and with Marais in the central role, not much can be improved in acting department. Despite the long duration, about 3 hours - it doesn't bore, of course neither did the huge novels of those times, due to the well paced rendition. Both the parts had been more or less faithfully adapted from the novel.
Some of the factors are of course missing- for example the method of tunnel digging and disposing off the grits, or the way Dante managed to be inside the sack - but probably they were required for the written version, for the screen version they were not mandatory.
Another major difference - again it didn't matter in the adaptation - was foresaking the Baron Dangler - and rather merging it into two avatars - or mainly into the Caderousse role (Villefort only used the name, for his secret affair) - that would be a missing aspect, especially since instead of the four Marseilles, it was brought down to three, but only for those who have read it. And also probably it reduced some running time - that character and the retribution would have brought in at least another half an hour. And it would have been important - since the side-plot of Morel's daughter and Dangler's son also would have to be retained, to keep Dante's level of revenge in control. But over all this had been quite faithful adaptation - in two episodes - probably avoiding the third - which would definitely have cause audience exasperation., and without missing much from the main story line, trimming the branches, and characters where it could be. And it didn't much mess up with history either. Of course neither did the novel. I wonder who was Morel's daughter in (in First part), she was quite pretty, but there is no name in credits or even outside it. She had half the screen time at least, as her father, and may be much more than some other figures - say Emperor Napoleon, King Louise XVIII etc.
Worth watching - if there is still child in you, it won't bore.
The movie story has been covered in most of the reviews - so I won't delve on that, but on something else - and that has nothing to do with Christianity - rather the world as a whole - the mix of (various) sects of believers and atheists - that too of two types, those who has become so due to the Science, and others who are simply lost the faith. Let us leave the dying heroine - it had become obvious from around half of the story that she was going to - and look at the people around her, those who love her and can't bear to lose her. The husband Mikkel is an atheist - by faith (or lack of it). The Doctor is one who doesn't believe in miracles - since the result is in his hand. The father in law (Morten) and the Tailor (Peterson) profess clashing faiths, the should be referee, the pastor of the parish in fact doesn't really have the faith himself. He preaches, since he must, as almost all the people in his profession in real life really do and it is not due to faith in God (or supreme), but more due to the conditioning he had been through.
There was another beautiful movie, around this time, "Lease of Life" where the pastor likens God to the Headmaster and questions is he really that ? Does he critically looks at all your moves and awards grade, and scared of it, you follow the path? Or is it that he is going to look askance once in a while, as far as he knows you really love Him (though not referred, but I would liken it to parents). The religious leaders (whichever faith you might belong to) still act like the Headmasters and pass on the marks (at least thinks they do) to higher officials.
And in this situations, when there are no true believer, can Miracles happen ? The point emphasized here is if there is God, he won't perform miracles to turn non believer to believer. He might do it, to help one who really believes. That has been spelt out by Johannes - who believes he is re-incarnation of Christ - still he tells his niece, that 'They won't let me' - and there lies the essence of the whole world of today - If one really believes - it is not in religion, the path followed - but in the goal. The question is what one believes ? The Path or the Goal or neither. Leaving the third category - I would put my last dollar in the first, no one really believes in the second but rather believes the path itself is Him - otherwise why there would be so much of strife ?
What I didn't like: Anders' behaviour - in the end, probably being minor character the Director forgot of him. When in front of Inger's coffin, Peter agrees to have Anne married to Anders, he seemed to have in an instant gotten over his grief,, and in fact seemed quite joyous. In fact a few moments later I could see, in the corner, Anne grieving and Anders consoling her, rather than the opposite, after all at that age Ingers would have been a mother figure to him.