Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Elyot and Amanda Duel Once More

Another showing of Private Lives (1931), 11:00 p.m. PST (Wednesday)/ 2 a.m. EST (Thursday), on TCM.  I would hope everyone has seen this movie several times, it really is a great Bob movie.  If not, get those DVRs set now.

Private Lives was a very successful play written by Noel Coward who starred in the London production along with Gertrude Lawrence.  It's always nice to be able to write a role for yourself.  It also makes it very difficult for another person who attempts that same role.  Bob took a lot of flack from critics for daring to do the Noel Coward role.  I am sure Mr. Coward was superb in his role on the stage.  I personally think Bob was superb in his role on the screen.

Elyot (Bob) and Amanda (Norma Shearer) are exes who have remarried and find they have adjoining suites at their honeymoon hotel.  It does not take long for them to discover their attraction to each other did not end with their divorce.  They desert their new spouses and head off for a romantic stay in an Alpine chalet.   (Not exactly the nicest couple on the screen!)

It does not take long for the two to return to the combative relationship that caused the marriage to break up in the first place.  The photo below shows Amanda and Elyot on the verge of one of the best screen fights between a couple ever filmed. 

Things get off to a good start ... Elyot is on the floor flabbergasted that Amanda has gone physical during their fight.  Oh, oh, Amanda ... watch out!

I like this clipping from a 1931 magazine discussing the fight.  Bob with a cut forehead ... a PR department's dream come true.

It is said that head of production Irving Thalberg, Norma's husband, actually had a film made of the stage production so that Norma and Bob could study their stage counterparts' performances.  Wonder what happened to the film ... Noel and Gertrude captured on film ... what a find that would be. 


Debbie said...

I read somewhere that during one of those knock down fight scenes Ms. Shearer actually knocked Bob out. Poor Bob!

Kathy said...

Have you ever wondered if, perhaps, Bob deserved it ... at least from Ms. Shearer's perspective? I'm reminded of the closing scene of June Bride that produced one very funny outtake. I'm sure Bette would liked to have knocked Bob out!