Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sailor's Luck

Marinai a terra. US © 1933 Fox Film Corporation. D: Raoul Walsh. Story: Bert Hanlon. SC: Charlotte Miller, Marguerite Roberts. DP: Arthur C. Miller. ED: Jack Murray. AD: Joseph C. Wright. M: Samuel Kaylin. S: George Leverett. C: James Dunn (Jimmy Harrigan), Sally Eilers (Sally Brent), Victor Jory (barone Potrillo), Sammy Cohen (Barnacle Benny), Frank Moran (Bilge), Esther Muir (Minnie Broadhurst), Will Stanton (J. Felix Hemingway), Armand ‘Curley’ Wright (Angelo), Jerry Mandy (Rico), Lucien Littlefield (Elmer Brown), Buster Phelps (Elmer Brown Jr ). Premiere: 17 marzo 1933. 35 mm. 79’. B&w. From: Twentieth Century Fox. Thursday 28 July 2012, Cinema Arlecchino (Bologna, Il Cinema Ritrovato). E-subtitles in Italian by Sub-Ti.

Dave Kehr: “Walsh followed the freewheeling Me and My Gal with this more tightly structured but no less rambunctious comedy, a study in controlled chaos in which an improvisatory tone masks a careful development of the central romantic relationship and a shrewdly calibrated use of deep-focus space. The film carries over several character actors from the previous film – including broken-nosed Frank Moran repeating his role as a man of the sea with surprising intellectual inclinations – and places them in support of James Dunn and Sally Eilers, whose teaming in Frank Borzage’s Oscar-winning Bad Girl (1931) had established them as Fox’s leading star couple (a down-to-earth, Depression-era sequel to the other worldly couple formed by Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell). He’s a sailor on shore leave in a Southern California port; she’s an unemployed beauty whose figure immediately gets her a job as a swimming pool lifeguard, even though she can’t swim. Their physical attraction is immediate and mutual (was any filmmaker ever less coy about sex?), but before they can become a couple they must overcome a number of comic misunderstandings and scrapes, most of them engineered by Eilers’s oily, predatory landlord (Victor Jory), who wants her for himself. Tavernier and Coursodon are being rather prudish in 50 ans de cinéma Americain when they complain of “painful gags that take minorities as their target and manage to offend them all, from Italians to Jews passing through homosexuals”. Rather, the humour is rich in the kind of broad ethnic stereotyping that was a staple of American vaudeville (and Walsh’s youth), and which historically offered an effective way to vent and defuse ethnic tensions in immigrant America. (Suggestively, the only real villain in the film, Jory’s ‘Baron Potrillo’, hides behind a made-up ethnicity and a phony aristocratic title ) The film climaxes with a fight scene in a dance hall scarcely less epic than the battle sequences in What Price Glory, and just as superbly rendered in terms of colliding waves of force.” Dave Kehr

AA: A lightweight farce about sailors ashore in California and Sally (Sally Brent) struggling to survive in a world where all men are predators. Also Jimmy (James Dunn) behaves like a moron and a brute of the worst kind, jealous, short-tempered, bullying, violent. There is a funny running gag with shades up and shades down. In the conclusion Jimmy seems to have understood how dumb he has been, and the final "shades up, shades down" takes place at the cab where Sally draws the shades down. The print is good.

No comments: