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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Shooting Stars (1928)

Set in the world of British film studios in the 1920s, a popular married movie star couple (Annette Benson, Brian Aherne) aren't the perfect pair the fan magazines would us believe. She's carrying on an affair with a popular comic actor (Donald Calthrop). Although the director credit is given to A.V. Bramble, it's generally agreed that the true director of the film is Anthony Asquith (PYGMALION). This movie is a real jewel that deserves to be more widely seen. The film begins lightly and with an emphasis on humor but it isn't long before there's a metamorphosis that's so subtle we're not even aware of it and soon, it becomes darker until adultery and murder cloud the landscape. For a film buff, the detailed behind the scenes look at silent film making in 1920s England alone would be enough but the compelling narrative soon takes over and it goes places you don't even dare think about. I could have done without the "irony" of the film's last 10 minutes but the last shot is a real beauty. Aherne, of course, would soon go to America and become a popular leading man of the 1930s and 40s. The film is accompanied by a fine score composed by John Altman.

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