EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN (director: Ernst Lubitsch; screenwriters: based on the play by Oscar Wilde/Julien Josephson; cinematographer: Charles Van Enger; editor: Ernst Lubitsch; music: Yati Durant; cast: Ronald Colman (Lord Darlington), Irene Rich (Mrs. Erlynne), May McAvoy (Lady Windermere), Bert Lytell (Lord Windermere), Edw. Martindel (Lord Augustus Lorton), Helen Dunbar (Gossipy Duchess); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Ernst Lubitsch; Synergy Entertainment; 1925-silent)|
its light on the hypocrisies and phony games
played by the upper-crusts."
by Dennis Schwartz
early Warner Bros. film for the beginning studio, that
turned out to be a big hit. Ernst Lubitsch ("Design
For Living"/"Trouble in Paradise"/"If I Had a
Million") adds his lubitsch touch to substitute for
the silent's lost witty dialogue from Oscar Wilde,
whose play the film is based on. The notorious
playwright's scandalous comedy of manners is set among
the British aristocrats. The screenplay is by Julien
the caddish Lord Darlington (Ronald
Colman) startles the married Lady
Windermere (May McAvoy)
by declaring his love for her, the
mysterious Mrs. Erlynne (Irene Rich)
returns to London and asks Lord Windermere (Bert
Lytell) to meet her to discuss something
of vital importance to them. In private she reveals
that she's the long-lost mother of his wife, Lady Windermere,
who thought mom was dead. She further explains she
had the child out of wedlock, the reason for her
disappearance and assures him no one else knows the
secret. Mrs. Erlynne persuades Lord
Windermere to sponsor her into his elite circle or
else she will tell all to his circle of elites.
Fearing the worst, the Lord finances Mrs.
Erlynne. But the gossipy lady aristocrats begin
spreading the word that the much older Mrs.
Erlynne is the Lord's lover, and she's shunned by the
society swells. But the attractive Mrs.
Erlynne is pursued at the racetrack by Lord
Augustus Lorton (Edward Martindel), who begins a
furtive affair with her.
Erlynne forces the Lord to invite her to his
wife's birthday party, but when his wife is told
by Darlington that hubby is writing checks to
the strange lady and she observes it herself,
she believes her hubby is having an affair and
when she confronts him is told that he's only
helping out a lady in financial need. Lady
Windermere sends Mrs.
Erlynne a letter to
cancel the invitation, but she
fails to read the letter and shows up to the party
escorted by Lord Lorton. The lively lady becomes
the hit of the party, even winning over her most
ardent critics. At the party Darlington has
success in courting the upset married lady, and
after the party she goes to his flat. Mrs.
Erlynne follows her to the flat and warns her
about making the same mistake she did, which
made her a social outcast. When the society men
from the party convene in Darlington's flat, Mrs.
Erlynne makes her presence known as Lady Windermere
flees unnoticed and when Lady
Windermere's fan is found in the premise,
she declares I must have taken it by mistake.
turns into an austere but amusing morality play that
skillfully casts its light on the hypocrisies and
phony games played by the upper-crusts, who live a
shallow life following their repressive society rules
REVIEWED ON 1/16/2013 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ