Monday, June 25, 2018

Bachelor's Affairs

Poikamiehen hommia / Ungkarlsaffärer.
    Director: Alfred L. Werker. Year: 1932. Country: USA.
    Sog.: dalla commedia Precious di James Forbes. Scen.: Barry Conners, Philip Klein. F.: Norbert Brodine. M.: Alfred DeGaetano. Scgf.: Max Parker. Mus.: R. H. Bassett. Int.: Adolphe Menjou (Andrew Hoyt), Minna Gombell (Stella Peck), Arthur Pierson (Oliver Denton), Joan Marsh (Eva Mills), Don Alvarado (Ramon Alvarez), Alan Dinehart (Luke Radcliff), Irene Purcell (Jane Remington), Herbert Mundin (Jepson, il maggiordomo), Rita LaRoy (Sonya Denton). Prod.: Edmund Grainger per Fox Film Corporation 35 mm. D.: 64’.
    Movietone aperture.
    "Siboney" (Ernesto Lecuona, 1929).
    Print from UCLA Film & Television Archive.
    Viewed at Cinema Jolly, Bologna, Il Cinema Ritrovato (William Fox Presents: Rediscoveries from The Fox Film Corporation), 25 June 2018

Jan-Christopher Horak (Il Cinema Ritrovato): "Based on a play by James Forbes, Precious, that opened and closed on Broadway in January-February 1929, this unsentimental pre-Code film features some of the crispest and fastest-paced dialogue of any film coming out of Fox; indeed, its cynical tone and rhythm rivals anything produced at Warner Brothers in that period."

"Middle-aged playboy Andrew Hoyt, who had previously been a staunch bachelor, gets sucked into marrying a beautiful but vacuous young blond, after her older sister has expertly set the bait. Realizing pretty quickly that he is not up to the vigorous physical activity demanded by his eager 20-something spouse, he conspires with his best friend and his loyal secretary to find a new plaything for the soon-to-be ex-wife."

"Adolphe Menjou plays the self-centered playboy with his tongue delightfully deep in his cheek, knowingly riffing on his own previously established screen persona as the suave older lover, but unafraid to also exhibit the frailties of advancing age. The scenes of the California honeymoon, during which the blond energizer bunny and the world-weary lounge lizard engage in ceaselessly healthy sports activity are particularly funny. Joan Marsh looks like a carbon copy of Jean Harlow, only twice as dumb, a girl who just wants to have fun. Meanwhile, Minna Gombell’s gold-digging older sister stage manages her younger sibling’s marital career but can’t stave off disaster when the girl falls for some fresh young Latin eye candy in the shape of Don Alvarado as a rumba teacher."

"Alfred Werker not only keeps the action and dialogue going at lightning speed, he also manages to insert numerous bits of physical comedy." (Jan-Christopher Horak)

AA: A comedy of Andrew, a wealthy man (Adolphe Menjou) targeted by gold-digging girlfriends, Joan Marsh as Eva the dumb blonde and Minna Gombell as Stella the mastermind.

It starts on an ocean liner and proceeds to the United States. Eva's relentless energy soon wears Andrew out, and he is all too grateful for Ramon the rhumba teacher (Don Alvarado) to spend time with Eva. In film festivals connections emerge between films, and there is a connection here to yesterday's Víctimas de pecado with its stunning rhumba numbers.

The story is familiar from a number of comedies.

New twists here include the distinguished performance of Adolphe Menjou as the playboy who accepts philosophically that he is not young anymore.

An emotional depth is provided by Irene Purcell's performance as Andrew's loyal secretary Jane Remington who first misunderstands that Andrew is finally marrying her. And who is there finally for him when Andrew's eyes are opened.

Minna Gombell is also excellent as the brains behind the sisters' ingenious plot.

The funniest comedy number is the rhumba sequence.

A brilliant print.

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