|Carole Lombard in all her glory (& many feathers).|
I had a little bit of a Carole Lombard movie marathon this past weekend! I wasn't in the best of moods owing to the fact that a pesky migraine refused to subside for much of Saturday and Sunday, so I thought it best to delve into the charming, screwball-infested world of some Lombard films.
The Carole Lombard Glamour Collection was released what feels like eons ago, but I only just got around to enjoying it lately (yes, till now it's been sitting on my movie shelf, unloved). That's a sin in itself, no? Anyone care to tell me what my punishment should be? This DVD collection consists of six Lombard features: Man Of the World (1931), We're Not Dressing (1934), Hands Across the Table (1935), Love Before Breakfast (1936), The Princess Comes Across (1936), and True Confession (1937). In between bouts of sickness, I watched the first three films listed. Unfortunately, I was only impressed with one of the films (stay tuned to find out which one it is); the other two were pretty horrible.
|William Powell & Carole Lombard in Man Of the World (1931).|
I can't believe I just said that -- I'm a huge Lombard fan and it really upsets me when I have to put her movies down. But there's just no helping Man Of the World and We're Not Dressing. The former wasn't terrible per say, it was more odd than anything. It started off promising, but then it digressed into something that never really got resolved by picture's end. Personally, I found it a jumbled mess that could have been so much better if it had been written properly. One thing I did really enjoy though was seeing Carole Lombard star alongside William Powell. She was very young when this film was made - twenty-two, I think - but you could definitely see that she had the makings of a Hollywood star and I think Powell actually helped refine her image for her onscreen.
|My exact facial expression throughout We're Not Dressing (1934).|
Despite the fact that We're Not Dressing had a beyond stellar cast (Bing Crosby, Carole Lombard, Gracie Allen, & George Burns) this film was a real stinker! It clocked in at just over an hour, but boy did it feel like I was watching it forever. In my opinion, there was absolutely no character or story development in this film and until Burns and Allen appeared at the half-way point, I'm pretty darn sure my soul was crying actual tears. I'm not even entirely sure what this movie's genre was! Was it a musical? A romcom? A screwball comedy? A farce? I have no fucking clue but I knew that if Bing Crosby sang one more song to that collared bear, I was ready to smash my computer screen into oblivion. Collared bear, you ask?! Why yes. A fucking collared bear. Enough said. And don't even get me started on that poofball Lombard wore on her head for the first half of the film.
|Fred MacMurray & Carole Lombard star in Hands Across the Table (1935).|
Things got much better as soon as I began watching Hands Across the Table (1935). Now, here was a film I could really get into! It had everything: a great story, a charming cast, a couple of hilarious bust-ups and a happy ending. Classic Lombard and MacMurray fare, a real winner. This film wasn't significantly longer than Man Of the World or We're Not Dressing, but it felt as if this movie was paced perfectly compared to its predecessors. The story of a manicurist who falls for a titled gentleman whilst setting a wheelchair-bound suitor's heart fluttering at the same time was a classic set-up for a screwball comedy a la Lombard. The dialogue was cutting and sharp and the chemistry between Lombard and MacMurray was absolute dynamite! I can't tell you how many times I had wished this were a precode so that we could fit some gratuitous manhandling and lovemaking in (allo allo!). Where did I put that fan??
Have you held any movie marathons lately? Tell me about them below in the comments!