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Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Constant Nymph (1943)

A young girl (Joan Fontaine in an Oscar nominated performance) barely in her teens falls possessively in love with an arrogant and pretentious composer (Charles Boyer). When he marries her more worldly cousin (Alexis Smith), she is devastated. After running away from school, she moves in with the couple ... not a good idea. What a disgusting, nasty piece of film. A pompous jerk (Boyer) treats his wife (Smith) like crap while leching after the Lolita (Fontaine done up in pigtails and pinafores) under his roof! The irony of this horror is that we are somehow supposed to find this den of perversity romantic! Eh? I wonder how 1943 audiences would have taken to this swill if the little girl had been played by the 15 year old Shirley Temple instead of the 26 year old Fontaine? The film had been out of circulation for almost 70 years, they should have kept it locked up for another 70. Creepy and repulsive! Directed by Edmund Goulding. The best thing about it is the superb Erich Wolfgang Korngold score. With Peter Lorre, Charles Coburn, Brenda Marshall, Dame May Whitty, Jean Muir, Joyce Reynolds and Eduardo Ciannelli.

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