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   THE BRIDE WORE RED (1937) 

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CAST
Joan Crawford
Franchot Tone
Robert Young
Billie Burke
Reginald Owen
Lynne Carver
George Zucco
Mary Philips
Paul Porcasi
Dickie Moore
Frank Puglia

DIRECTED BY
Dorothy Arzner

PURCHASE


About Crawford




Time: 103 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Drama/Romance


SYNOPSIS: A nightclub singer gets an offer from a wealthy drunk she just can't refuse – the chance to live the high life for two weeks at a fancy resort, all expenses paid – and finds herself torn between the affections of two men. Should she settle for a simple life with the local postman or make sure she never has to worry about money again by marrying a wealthy playboy?

BOTTOM LINE: This film suffers from an identity crises because it was made fairly early in Crawford's career when she was still playing ingenues on the way to becoming the super bitch we all know and love. At 32, she certainly has the experience behind her eyes to portray a woman who's tired of living the low life and looking for someone to rescue her for good whether via true love or a love trap makes no difference. The fact that she becomes the pawn of two very rich gentlemen who are basically playing a game with her life doesn't really matter to her. Count Armalia postulates over many drinks that it's only the luck of birth that really separates the rich from the poor and that with the right clothes and introductions even a dance hall singer could convince the well-to-do that she's one of them. Unbeknownst to his friend he puts his theory to the test by offering Anni (Crawford) a two week, all expenses paid vacation at a world famous resort using his name as currency. She knows something's not quite on the up and up, but there's no way she can refuse. No work, new clothes and a mountaintop of rich men? It's a dream come true.

It goes without saying that she becomes the life of the party and garners the undying affection of two very different men. The outcome is clear from the beginning but the writers throw enough wrenches in the works to at least make her decision a seemingly tough one. Unfortunately, there are several problems with this whole love triangle angle that keep the film from being great. One is that Young is miscast as a playboy heartbreaker. The fact that he already has a fiancé adds depth to the plot but leaves a bad taste in one's mouth, especially since she's Anni's new best friend and doesn't have a mean bone in her body. Second is the casting of Crawford. While she plays the cold-hearted golddigger aspects well, it's the scenes with her as a down-to-earth, nature-loving girl that are ridiculous. While Crawford is a great actress the duality of this part is just not something she pulls off. It seems more suited to someone like Carole Lombard.

Franchot Tone is undoubtedly the better choice as he has more personality than a stick – sorry Mr. Young – and is clever and funny here. Being a postman on a remote mountain it's no wonder why he sets his cap for a lovely dame like Anni, who's at least within his reach unlike the other ladies who come through town. They have much better chemistry and their scenes together are what keep this silly romance afloat. The Count makes his point, in a way, but it never quite comes off as the dig at the snottiness of the rich I think they were trying to convey. Plus we get a bit gipped by not really being able to see the vibrant red dress of the title – a fairly big plot point – since the film is in B&W. While not a bad film, it's certainly not one of Crawford's best.




"I want you to marry her, and I want my love to haunt you...to make you lie awake at night, to burn your heart, to make you sick with pain! I want you to think of me and to ache for me. I want never to see you again!"

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