EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|EASY VIRTUE (director: Alfred Hitchcock; screenwriters: based on a play by Noel Coward/Eliot Stannard; cinematographer: Claude McDonnell; editor: Ivor Montagu; cast: Isabel Jeans (Larita Filton), Franklin Dyall (Aubrey Filton), Eric Bransby Williams (Claude Robson), Robin Irvine (John Whittaker), Violet Farebrother (Mrs. Whittaker), Dacia Deane (Marion Whittaker, older sister), Dorothy Boyd (Hilda Whittaker, younger sister), Frank Elliott (Colonel Whittaker), Enid Stamp-Taylor (Sarah), Ian Hunter (The Plaintiff's Counsel), Benita Hume (Switchboard Operator); Runtime: 79; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Micael Balkan; Grapevine Video; 1928-silent-UK)|
|"Sticks in the ribs like over baked mush."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Early Alfred Hitchcock ("Rich and Strange"/"The Farmer's
silent melodrama, that sticks in
the ribs like over baked mush. It's
based on the outdated play by Noel
Coward and is written by Eliot Stannard; it suffers greatly as a silent
because we can't even hear Coward's crisp dialogue.
London society woman Larita
is locked into a loveless marriage with an abusive alcoholic husband,
Her husband accuses the innocent woman of having an affair with Claude Robson (Eric Bransby
Williams), her wealthy portrait artist. The highly-publicized trial
opens the pic. It tells of the brawl between the artist and the brutish
hubby, after he catches wifey in his rival's arms and attacks her but
is repulsed when the artist shoots him superficially. Claude's a
suicide and leaves his inheritance to Larita, which gets the gossipers
working overtime and causes a scandal during the trial where she's
named as a correspondent. The trial outcome leaves the now divorced
Larita as a marked woman of "easy virtue."
Larita escapes to the south of
France resorts to try and put her past behind her, where she meets on
the tennis court the handsome gentleman country bumpkin John
The callow youth falls blindly in love with the mysterious woman and
there's a whirlwind courtship, even as she never mentions her past. The
film's best scene has Larita accepting his wedding proposal while on
the phone, as we don't see either party but know she accepts by the
reaction of the eavesdropping
goes to live with John in his well-to-do family's uptight country house
in Peveril, England, and incurs the wrath of John's narrow-minded mom (Violet Farebrother). The harridan
senses Larita is hiding something and treats her badly in private but
in public offers phony smiles. When it's later revealed in the local
newspapers that Larita has a scandalous reputation over the infamous
trial, momma's boy John sticks with mom even as his more sensitive
colonel father (Frank
Elliott) shows some sympathy for Larita.
the futility of trying to rebuild her life with a weakling like John
and that she mistakenly concealed her
past from him, Larita divorces him and feels
melodramatics were hysterical in all the wrong ways, as the vapid story
is a let down. Though from a purely technical point of view, Hitchcock
excels in his close-ups, clear sense of narration and in his
REVIEWED ON 9/17/2010 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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