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Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Fan (1949)

An old woman (Madeleine Carroll) wants to reclaim a fan up for auction but is unable to prove the fan belonged to her. She seeks out an elderly man (George Sanders) who knew her back when she owned the fan but he doesn't remember her. She then proceeds to tell him her story of the fan and how it came into her possession. Otto Preminger is probably the least likely director (he also produced the film) one would think of to direct this biting Oscar Wilde comedy, Ernst Lubitsch yes, but Preminger? The script (Dorothy Parker was one of the three screenwriters who had a hand) bookends the film with an unnecessary present day (London 1949) sequence before going to the Oscar Wilde material but the film is bowdlerized to the point that only its plot is retained and even that makes some misguided changes to the Wilde material. That being said, if one can accept that it isn't Wilde's LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN but some curious hybrid then it's an acceptable piece of costume melodrama. The cast includes Jeanne Crain (charming as Lady Windermere), Richard Greene, Martita Hunt, John Sutton and Richard Ney.

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