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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Flame Of New Orleans (1941)

In 1841 New Orleans, a gold digger (Marlene Dietrich) passes herself off as a Countess in order to snare herself a rich husband. She finds herself one (Roland Young) but a rough river boat captain (Bruce Cabot) catches her fancy. I've never been a fan of Dietrich and with the exception of BLUE ANGEL, I find her movies with Josef von Sternberg rather much although I can see what others see in them. This Rene Clair directed confection on the other hand I find delightful fun and Dietrich appealing. Maybe precisely because it doesn't have the overcooked exoticism of her von Sternberg films, Dietrich doesn't have to try and be the enigmatic woman of mystery or the goddessy femme fatale. She's rather lively here and the twinkle in her eye is refreshing. It's a minor film in the Rene Clair canon but its charm goes a long way and its entertainment value can't be so easily dismissed. The supporting cast consists of some of the best character actors of the era: Anne Revere, Mischa Auer, Franklin Pangborn, Melville Cooper, Laura Hope Crews, Andy Devine, Clarence Muse and the wonderful Theresa Harris.

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