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Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Bride Wore Red (1937)

In an experiment to prove that there's no real difference between the aristocracy and the common folk, a Count (George Zucco) sends a down on her luck cabaret singer (Joan Crawford) to a plush Alps resort and pass herself off as a wealthy society woman for two weeks. Once there, she plots to snag herself a rich husband (Robert Young) though her heart is susceptible to the charms of a local postman (Franchot Tone). Based on a play by Ferenc Molnar (LILIOM), this was considered one of the mediocre films that soured MGM on Crawford. So it was a surprise to discover how charming it was. Though it lacks the feminist subtext that the director Dorothy Arzner brought to films like DANCE GIRL DANCE and CHRISTOPHER STRONG, it's a polished piece of a fairy tale romcom with Crawford at her most appealing. A minor irritant is Lynne Carver (though no fault of the actress) as Young's all forgiving doormat fiancee which is an unfortunate product of the time. The trite underscore is by Franz Waxman. With Billie Burke, Reginald Owen and Mary Philips (LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN).

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