Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Living on Velvet

Living on Velvet. Kay Francis.

Joka päivä viimeinen / Var dag den sista. US © 1935 First National Pictures [Warner Bros.]. D: Frank Borzage. SC: Jerry Wald, Julius Epstein. DP: Sid Hickox. Costumes: Orry-Kelly. Song "Living On Velvet" (Al Dubin, Harry Warren). ED: William Holmes.
    Starring Kay Francis (Amy Prentiss), Warren William (Gibraltar), George Brent (Terry Parker). 77'.
    Print with beautiful definition and without credit titles.
    Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 15 March 2005.

Borzage meets Warner: he has to adjust to the speed, the clipped rhythm, and the simple economical visual style. No more soft light, chiaroscuro and dream-like mood (save the opening and the scenes at Sherman's statue). While Kay Francis is OK the male leads are merely functional.

Yet, this is another entry in Borzage's explorations in mad love.

After an airplane crash, Terry the businessman-aviator, who survived miraculously but lost his family, lives "on borrowed time", like a zombie, like a ghost, just expecting to die. On his way to death, he meets Amy, who is ready to give up everything for him: how their eyes meet for the first time is an anthology piece. The inner logic of the story leads to the redemption of Terry in death, yet there is a "happy end". This film belongs to the surrealist tradition as it takes place "in the zone", with a constant sense of the beyond.

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