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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Perfect Understanding (1933)

Prior to their marriage, a husband (Laurence Olivier) and wife (Gloria Swanson) draw up an informal agreement that they will not allow disagreements or jealousy to interfere with their marriage. But the honeymoon is barely over when the husband has a one night stand with an old flame (Nora Swinburne) but while the husband confesses his indiscretion, the wife finds she can't overlook the betrayal after all. A crashing bore! The film's running time is less than an hour and a half but it feels an eternity. Aristocrats prattling on and on, Swanson (really poor here) wringing her hands until you fear they'll fall off and Olivier, while looking quite handsome, is so inadequate that you'd never guess that he'd grow into one of the world's great actors. Add to all that, the zero chemistry between Swanson and Olivier, and you've got a stiff of a movie. Actually, considering the direction of the film's feeble plot, perhaps PERFECT MISUNDERSTANDING might have been a better title. Directed by Cyril Gardner. With John Halliday, Genevieve Tobin and Michael Farmer.

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