Sunday, May 20, 2018

Marathon, Part 2 (One Day To Go!)

And now for the other five movies being shown tomorrow ...

Untamed (1929) receives a 4.6 rating on IMDB.  Ouch.  Granted, the movie is one of those rather awkward transition from silent to sound movies.  The use of titles for scene changes at the beginning is right out of the silents.  Hey, we are still learning about sound films, give us a chance!  If you are a Crawford fan, you will enjoy the beginning.  Joan, as "Bingo", gets to both sing and dance.  It is interesting to see musical numbers being used in the early sound pictures, whether it had anything to do with the rest of the movie or not.  Even Bob has to sing a love song to Bingo.  Too much.

I would suggest going 21 minutes into the movie and watch it from Bob's entrance on, the movie improves greatly.  This is Bob's third movie.  His transition is from stage to the talkies and he still has room for improvement.  But it is simply fun to watch him, the young, very exuberant Bob, still working on his basics, the way he walks, what to do with his hands when standing still.  The boxing scene is great fun, with some attempt of disguising just how skinny and small-framed the young Bob is.  But he can throw a lot of punches very fast!

Three years later, Bob has improved significantly.  In But the Flesh is Weak (1932), he has become the Bob we know so well ... so handsome, elegant and smooth.  The rating is only 5.7, probably so low because of the main plot of Bob and his Dad being gigolos with the quest of Bob marrying  a wealthy woman.  Yes, not exactly politically correct these days, but it was all fun in 1932 having men in the usual role held by women, of looking for a sugar daddy.  The beginning has a great scene of Bob preparing for and taking a bath, do watch that if nothing else.  I have always felt the big weakness of the film was Bob's co-star, Nora Gregor.  She was quite popular in Europe, but did not catch on in Hollywood.

                   Bob and Nora Gregor in But the Flesh is Weak

In Made on Broadway (1933), Bob gets to play a different role.  He is a fast-talking, streetwise fixer, not his usual suave, upper crust self.  He meets his match in Sally Eilers, and the two work to make her into a celebrity.  He begins to fall in love with her, while his wife, Madge Evans, waits patiently to see if he returns to her.  Bob is quite good in the role, interesting to watch.  IMDB's rating is 6.5.  That's fair.

In the same year, Bob made When Ladies Meet.  Based on a very sophisticated and successful play, the movie has simply a great cast; Ann Harding, Myrna Loy, Frank Morgan, Alice Brady along with Bob.  It is a witty play about current day morality.  Myrna is in love with Frank who is married to Ann, while Bob is in love with Myrna and will do anything to get Frank out of the picture.  It sounds strange to have Myrna in love with Frank rather than Bob, but Mr. Morgan makes it believable.  The laughs are provided by Alice Brady, and the "country home" set by Cedric Gibbons is amazingly beautiful.  I seriously want that home for myself.  The movie's rating is 6.9.  The main complaint would be that it could be viewed as being too talky. 

Lastly, Trouble for Two (1936) reflects being made after they began enforcing the Hayes Act.  Bob gets to kiss Roz Russell gingerly and that's about it on the sex front.  It is based on a story by Robert Louis Stevenson, "The Suicide Club", and is primarily a somewhat strange mystery, with Bob and Roz as European royals, and Frank Morgan (again!) as Bob's watch dog.  It is rather an adjustment for me watching Bob with a mustache and a curly wig!  It is also an under use of Ms. Russell, as often happens.

My, but it is getting late (or early, depending on your perspective!)  Hope my rambles make sense.  Remember, Monday is Bob's Day! 

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