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Archive for the ‘Tyrone Power: screen god’ Category

Blood And Sand [1941]

22 Dec

Blood And Sand [1941] — directed by Rouben Mamoulian. Sports Drama. 125 minutes Color 1941.

★★★★★

The Story: A poor illiterate boy from Seville becomes Spain’s greatest matador, marries his beautiful childhood sweetheart, and then meets Rita Hayworth.

~

The lipstick on her mouth is the slash of death. As soon as she appears in purple, you know Tyrone Power is in Dutch. Anyone would be.

She’s 22 but she plays a woman of marked sophistication and massively confident sexual greed. She is never dressed down but always up and never less than to kill. Like gold coins, men move through what her choreographer Hermes Pan called the most beautiful fingers in the world. The part made her a star.

Even here, you can see what a good actress she is, her gift dependent upon her responsiveness. Just watch her in the big confrontation scene with Linda Darnell; watch how everything Darnell says to her hits her and what Hayworth does with it.  She has a natural inbred Meisner technique.

There are many attributes that made Hayworth a star, but let’s just notice one of them: her beautiful carriage. You’d have to wait until Cyd Charisse to meet her match. Look how the shoulders and hands are carried as she dances. She has three dances here, one sitting down playing a guitar in which she moves only her shoulders, one where she turns Power into a bull of her bidding, and one in full upright fornication which she does with Anthony Quinn.

Quinn, when young, is sexier than Power. His eyes burn with the hatred of an Italian whore; nothing could be hotter. And then we have Linda Darnell who is 17 years old here and unutterably touching. These film stars have such natural gifts. Darnell has the power to inhale with her eyes. It’s not a trick. She simply does it as an attribute of what she is. To witness such things is to cause wonder.

The weak link in all of this is Power himself who never has a hardon as the matador. He never investigates the character; he misses the eager brash guttersnipe of that scampering scamp of a boy he began as. You never feel his love of the sport, upon which the story depends. Of course, as in all bullfight movies, you cannot show the actor actually fighting the bull. If it were football, it would be different.

Blood And Sand is renowned for its color scheme of gold, ice blue, and blood red which the director imposed on it, and its Special Features contains a commentary by a modern cameraman Richard Crudo, a tutorial on the cumbersome challenge of Technicolor, which here is thick, rich, and saturated.

Mamoulian paints with film, right from the start with an all-but-naked adolescent boy racing through a blue moonlit countryside. He spray- paints Hayworth’s banquet flowers black. He spray paints John Carradine’s deathbed sheets grey. Darnell’s dresses are always white, black, or true blue. And Mamoulian dyed Hayworth’s hair auburn, which it remained for the rest of her career.

The backstage work of bullfighting is arresting, and we are treated to a supporting cast of considerable strength: Carradine as Power’s faithful friend, J. Carroll Naish as a wise fellow matador; Laird Cregar as louche journalist full of himself; as Power’s mother, storied actress Ala Nazimova. The movie is a lot of different sorts of fun: its camera work, color schemes, bright casting, two gorgeous young women. Although, as a whole, as you will see to your amusement and forgiveness, lead does not add weight to melodrama.

 

 

Suez

04 Jun

Suez –– directed by Allan Dwan. Historical Epic. Ferdinand de Lesseps struggles to build the Suez Canal. 104 minutes Black and White 1938.

★★★★

He struggles to dig, he has a setback, a woman encourages him, he struggles to dig, he has a set back, a woman encourages him, he struggles to dig, he has a setback, a woman discourages him. The monotony of the story is supposedly counterbalanced by the beauty of the stars and the production values. And the costumes. Except that the film is over-costumed, so you cannot believe for a minute that anyone ever wore any of those clothes to anyplace but on the way to a movie set. Loretta Young is so dressed, she not only looks like the bride on the wedding cake, she looks like the cake itself.

How did people ever go the bathroom in those clothes?

Well, that’s not the sort of question you were supposed to ask of such films. In those days, you were supposed to be humbly and unquestionably grateful for and trusting of the validity of the “history lesson”. Right now all one can say is that Mister de Lesseps was somehow involved in the excavation. The digging itself was easy, since the isthmus in ancient days was navigable. It was the sand of preparation that had to be continually cleared away, and that is what makes up the story here. But we are given two wonderful big-time special effects, a fatal sandstorm and an avalanche set off by those Islamic terrorists again. They still don’t know when to stop. The director Allan Dwan sure keeps things chugging along, though.

A big and experienced supporting cast cannot breathe life into the dialogue which is as stilted as the men’s high collars, although Nigel Bruce, as usual, somehow manages it. The cast is headed up by Our Lady Of The Holy Wood, Loretta Young, and by Tyrone Power. They made delightful comedies together earlier on the 30s and were a popular duo.

Tyrone Power was a man so beautiful you become rapt to see what his face will do next. Since he is an actor of natural discretion, what you see is always authentic, although how he achieves it, given the lines, is impossible to guess, except that his modesty never rises to the level of the vulgarity of them. With Tyrone Power, what you see is what is made gettable by the fact that behind that face lies the quality that made him a great star, his kindness, sense of fun, his gentlemanliness. He’s not vain and he doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He was inhumanly beautiful but not inhumanely beautiful.

The third star is Annabella, who was soon enough to become Tyrone Power’s first wife. While a good deal older than Power, she is perfectly convincing as a hoydenish teenager. She is French, which makes her seem odd and out-of-place, since, while everyone else at court is French, she is the only one in the cast who actually is so. She is a gifted and very fine screen actor and is wonderful to watch, although might prove irritating to watch much longer.

Anyhow, this is a typical historical Hollywood contraption of the period. It is a showcase. It was a crowd pleaser. And Power and Young when young still are enjoyable to behold.

 

 

 

 

Blood And Sand [1941]

27 Jan

Blood And Sand — directed by Rouben Mamoulian. Sports Drama. 125 minutes Color 1941.

★★★★★

The Story: A poor illiterate boy from Seville becomes Spain’s greatest matador, marries his beautiful childhood sweetheart, and then meets Rita Hayworth.

~

The lipstick on her mouth is the slash of death. As soon as she appears in purple, you know Tyrone Power is in Dutch. Anyone would be.

She’s 22 but she plays a woman of marked sophistication and massively confident sexual greed. She is never dressed down but always up and never less than to kill. Like gold coins, men move through what Hermes Pan her choreographer called the most beautiful fingers in the world. The part made her a star.

Even here, you can see what a good actress she is, her gift dependent upon her responsiveness. Just watch her in the big confrontation scene with Linda Darnell; watch how everything Darnell says to her hits her and what she does with it.  She has a natural inbred Meisner technique.

There are many attributes that made Hayworth a star, but let’s just notice one of them: she has the most beautiful carriage. You’d have to wait until Cyd Charisse to meet her match. Look how the shoulders and hands are carried as she dances. She has three of these, one sitting down playing a guitar in which she moves only her shoulders, one where she subjects Power into a bull of her bidding, and one of full upright fornication which she does with Anthony Quinn.

Quinn, when young, is sexier than Power. His eyes burn with the hatred of an Italian whore; nothing could be hotter. And then we have Linda Darnell who is 17 years old here and unutterably touching. These film stars have such natural gifts. Darnell has the power to inhale with her eyes. It’s not a trick. She simply does it as an attribute of what she is. To witness such things is to cause wonder in us.

The weak link in all of this is Power himself who never has a hardon as the matador. He never investigates the character; he misses the eager brash guttersnipe of that scampering scamp of a boy he began as. You never feel his love of the sport, upon which the story depends. Of course, as in all bullfight movies, you cannot show the actor actually fighting the bull. If it were football, it would be different.

Blood And Sand is renowned for its color scheme of gold, ice blue, and blood red which the director imposed on it, and its Special Features contains a commentary by a modern cameraman Richard Crudo, a tutorial on the cumbersome challenge of Technicolor, which here is thick, rich, and saturated. Mamoulian paints with film, right from the start with an all-but-naked adolescent boy racing through a blue moonlit countryside. He spray paints Hayworth’s banquet flowers black. He spray paints John Carradine’s deathbed sheets grey. Darnell’s dresses are always white, black, or true blue. And Mamoulian dyed Hayworth’s hair auburn, which it remained for the rest of her career.

The backstage work of bullfighting is arresting, and we are treated to a supporting cast of considerable strength: John Carradine as Power’s faithful friend, J. Carroll Naish as a wise fellow matador; Laird Cregar as louche journalist full of himself; as Power’s mother, storied actress Ala Nazimova. The movie is a lot of different sorts of fun: its camera work, color schemes, bright casting, two gorgeous young women, although, as you will see to your amusement and forgiveness, lead does not add weight to melodrama.

 

 

Johnny Apollo

09 Dec

Johnny Apollo – Directed by Henry Hathaway. Drama. The son of an embezzler becomes a gangster to spring his dad from prison. 94 minutes Black and White 1940.

* * * * *

Apart from certain story anomalies and inconsistencies, this is an unusual entertainment, since it actually allows full and extreme value of the relationship between a father and a son and also of a senior gangster and his up-and-coming righthand man. Edward Arnold, who is usually annoying because of his monotonous force of voice and movement, relents in his scenes with the son here, and thus their relationship becomes fully emotional and realized. Likewise, the adoration and admiration of Lloyd Nolan for his henchman is carried to its full flower right to the final scene when he is to murder him. Henry Hathaway’s direction of the picture sets up scenes in long horizontal shots like a rifle aiming. Take for instance the scene where this son/henchman first appears, virtually naked, in rowing togs with the victorious crew in the back throwing the coach in the river at exactly the moment when Lionel Atwill reveals to the young man that his father is a crook. Followed by the scene seen from the back of the father in the foreground as he sees his son come home and at a distance walk upstairs without speaking to him. The story, which is not well written on the level of plot, is very well written on the level of scenic content, and Hathaway highjacks it to develop and give importance to nice long scenes of relationships between interesting people, such as those with all the characters with a drunken, shady lawyer played beyond perfection by Charley Grapewin. Everyone is given permission to go for it, from Nolan to Eddie Mars as his henchman, and everyone jumps at the chance. Scenes played behind the mesh of a prison visitors table and behind the rungs of a stairway have a telling impact, because Arthur Miller filmed them. The film staggers to a halt when Dorothy Lamour sings her nightclub numbers, and staggers to a close when we are led to believe that she and the leading actor could possibly end up as a couple, for the lady has no class and the gentleman is class incarnate, Tyrone Power. At age 26 Power, as he had always done, shines right through his incontrovertible beauty to hold the screen and the story together by the generosity, naturalness, and flexibility of his acting. He was clearly the most accomplished male star of his era, and given no credit for being so. But just look at his eyes as he responds to other performers, and look at the absolute rightness of how he plays his scenes and his clarity in doing so. He was the top male star at Fox. He wanted better parts, but he never got them: there were no better parts in those days. This was it.

 

 

Day-Time Wife

05 Aug

Day-Time Wife – Directed by Gregory Ratoff. Romantic Comedy. The wife of a two-timing husband takes a job as the secretary of her husband’s client. 72 minutes Black and White 1939.

* * *

The difference between a silly movie and a stupid movie is the stupid movie takes the audience to be stupid. Such is the case here. At once one senses there are two things wrong. The script is unswallowable; that remains constant as far as the female characters go. The second is the question: isn’t Linda Darnell somehow far too inexperienced to be playing the sophisticated wife of a highly successful New York skyscraper contractor?  Research reveals that at the time she is 16 years old! The man she hires herself out to, however, is a merry and impenitent philander, played to the hilt by that crafty actor Warren William. He is absolutely marvelous, and if you parse out the lines he has to give, you appreciate what a nervy talent he had. He’s worth the price of admission and an example for young supporting actors of how to invest yourself in a role. Investment alone is funny. The scenes between him and Darnell are better written, and Darnell actually performs them with admirable artistic confidence. Here her looks are not quite formed up; there’s that lantern jaw; they don’t have her hairline right yet; her mouth has the wrong makeup. But she will develop as an actress beautifully with time, although by the time she peaks with Forever Amber she looks older than she is, which is only 24. Alcoholism has performed its task well, poor thing. Here, you can’t blame her, for oh the situations she is thrust into! – Zanuck was supposed to have had a better story sense. In its day, the reason to see it was to watch the beauteous and gifted Tyrone Power. As an actor he is never wrong. Almost never, for here his honesty sometimes fails him. Anyhow, aged 25 he is a huge star, and it’s justified by all his gifts, his fine voice, his ability to move naturally and swiftly, his looks, his grasp of situation, his refusal to milk a scene, his dedication to the other actors in it. Power was the best super-star actor in the world at that time. Perhaps only Clark Gable was so willing to look foolish in a movie. William Powell in the great fishing scene, yes, but Powell always returns to his habitual aplomb. Powell and Gable always are changed. Watch him. No one was more willing. It’s a treat to see this in him.

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Love Is News

29 Jul

Love Is News – Directed by Tay Garnett. Screwball Comedy. An heiress double-crosses a feisty reporter who has double-crossed her. 77 minutes Black and white. 1937.

* * * * *

What fun! What fun to see Loretta Young and Tyrone Power in their early twenties at the peak of their skills and beauty. Of the various blooms in the Hollywood bouquet, the values expressed by this sort of film are one of the most alluring still. You want to look at these two. You want to admire them. You enjoy them, and you don’t want them ever to grow old. You praise all the artifice around them because you know that such a wonderful fuss is right for them. You cannot begrudge their smashing clothes. You’re glad they get the lighting they deserve, and you wish them entirely well in all things. For you want love to be beautiful and to prevail, and never has this last want been so perfectly realized on film as it was in the comedies of the 30s. The story is a combination of Front Page and It Happened One Night, and its first class farce script offers the platform for comic relations between these two stars that are a treat to behold, and must have been a treat to perform, for they move together beautifully. As actors they free one another, they dare one another, and, most important, they argue with one another with complete conviction. The chemistry is artistic, a rarer thing in film acting than buffalos on the moon. While so young, they both had lots of experience as teen-agers, he on the stage with Cornell and she, already a big star in movies. They are Loy and Powell ten years before. They’re just simply talented as all get out. I love ‘em. You will too. So just pick up your white telephone. Dial Love Is News.

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That Wonderful Urge

29 Jul

That Wonderful Urge – Directed by Robert B. Sinclair. Romantic Comedy. An heiress double-crosses a feisty reporter who has double-crossed her. 82 minutes Black and white. 1948.

**

The abuse and misuse of Tyrone Power by Fox is perfectly demonstrated by this 1948 remake of Love Is News which Power had made ten years before, in 1937. But World War II has intervened, which Power served in honorably as a marine private, and it left its mark on him. He was delightful at 23 in insouciant light comedy with Loretta Young, where he is full of mischief and imagination and fun. They really clicked as a comedy team. Here at 34 a weight hangs on Power. And it’s partly the weight of Gene Tierney who simply had no business playing light comedy at all. She didn’t have the instrument for it. She chews her lines with her overbite. She had also played with Power in Son Of Fury ten years before, and they were lovely together, but there they were a romantic duo not a comic duo. This version of the story, which is essentially It Happened One Night, made-in-Japan, is poorly produced. You never believe a thing you’re seeing, not a single location, not a single background, not a single room, and not a single word, except for those Power speaks, for, as an actor, he is never wrong, he is always believable, he is always natural. Anyhow, the part of a reporter on the make is ridiculous for him at 34. Of course, Gene Tierney is older too, a handsome woman in her way, but here, ridiculously costumed by her husband Oleg Cassini. You can see her beauty did not fade over the years, but it also did not ripen; she never grew as an actress; she was always grand, condescending, and haughty. She always deigned. It was her default position as an actor, and one which ill-suited  the society dames she was most frequently called upon to play, for society folks do not turn their noses up. And that’s what she’s cast as here, as she is in The Razor’s Edge, where the ill-suitablility of  her with Power is of the nature of the story. Power wanted to be the thing he already was: a fine actor. He was never at a loss for a chance to prove it and always did prove it, but sometimes he was more at a loss than others. As here.

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CAFÉ METROPOLE

25 Jul

Café Metropole – Directed by Edward H. Griffith. High Comedy. A Paris debt-ridden restaurateur strong-arms a dead-beat young man to romance a millionaire’s daughter. 83 minutes Black and White 1937

* * * * *

When an actress complained to the photographer Lucien Andriot that he didn’t photograph her as well as he did five years ago, he said, “Well, my dear, I am five years older now.” The wit of his filming of this masterpiece of 30s comedy immensely nourishes the vigor of what passes before our delighted eyes. This is one of the funniest films I have ever seen, Its plot is mobilized by the roguish mustaches of Adolphe Menjou who forces Tyrone Power to impersonate a Russian Duke to impress the family of an American millionaire, played by Charles Winninger, and by Helen Westley, who doesn’t miss a comic trick, and by Loretta Young who is one game gal as the rich man’s daughter, delighted to be taken in by the deception. You’ve got to see how well she looks in clothes. Remember? They are the most gorgeous rigs you have ever seen. No one ever dressed like that except in the movies – which is why we went to the movies, isn’t it? Gregory Ratoff, who also stars in this, also wrote the story, which is wonderful, but more wonderful still is the dialogue, written by Jacques Deval, who gives his characters some of the most mischievous lines ever heard in a motion picture. This is an essential film, perfectly executed to dispel dyspepsia, cancer, and war. Rely on it. It will also paint your house in an ideally brighter color and put all your dear children through Yale.

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Girls’ Dormertory

25 Jul

Girls’ Dormitory – Directed by Irving Cummings. Light Drama. A sexy 19 year old French girl seduces her headmaster, who does not notice the woman who really loves him. 66 minutes Black and White 1936.

* * * *

Filmed by Meritt Gerstad to give splendor to the banal, thus were the films of this era made glorious in our eyes if not in our minds. You have to hand it to Hollywood. They knew how to make things appear. Here we have a top flight cast brought into attack upon material that requires a flyswatter. Constance Collier is the redoubtable tank launched against the morals of the girl. Her skirt keeps falling off. This provides neither comedy nor relief. What does count is Ruth Chatterton, here coming to the end of her big career in the 30s at Fox. Have you more than heard of her? Well, she was once married to George Brent, when he was sexy – you know – before he became a talking suitcase. And she resembles with astonishing verisimilitude our own Bette Midler – same face shape, humor, features, figure, and height. She’s very impressive as a power-performer. Opposite her we have that razor strap of an actor Herbert Marshall, smooth, soothing, supple even in a stuffed shirt, innocent, embarrassed, wounded, true. Easy to sympathize with him, no? Opposite him debuts the incredibly seductive young Simone Simon. The film stops dead and your heart stops dead at every close-up of that irresistible upper lip. You want to utterly shame yourself with her. At one of the windows of every Hollywood movie of that era, it would seem, appears the mug of John Qualen, born to sentimentalize, and here wigged out like a codger and playing the janitor. We wait, through the trials and tribulations of the main characters, for a door to open, which in the final scenes it does, to expose to our astounded eyes the first appearance on a screen of the shining animation of the gorgeous face of Tyrone Power. While the movie clumsily stumbles to the wrong ending, our eyes cannot wrest themselves from this beauty, and why should they? Hollywood existed to provide ourselves with such gifts. His talent is in order from the start: he is perfectly in character, plays to the right size of the role, and has a marvelous actor’s voice. He is 22 or so. Unbelievable. All you long for is lodged in wondering did he even look like this when he was 21, 19, 17? Never mind. Here he is at last.

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This Above All

19 Jul

This Above All – Directed by Anatole Litvak. Wartime Romance. An upper crust girl falls for a man with a past in WWII England. 1 hour 50 minutes. Black and White 1942.

* * * * *

Young Joan Fontaine had a habit of marrying handsome suspicious neurotic men. She had that year won the Oscar for Suspicion with Cary Grant and had Rebecca to her credit. It brought out her skill as a good-hearted victim-girl. She is quite lovely in this, with that same sweet smile that graced her sister. Fontaine’s talent consists of a vulnerable charm and a humorous, good natured femininity, so characteristic of the female actors of that era, and quite welcome to one’s eyes here. You can see what she can do well, in her big early speech, when she tells off the formidable Gladys Cooper: “When you and Uncle Wilfred talk, I seem to hear words oozing from the holes of a moth eaten sofa,” which is a pretty good line. She delivers all the meaning, and holds back all the meanness — which is correct for this character and situation. And you feel for her difficulty in having to do that interminable speech later about How We British Must Soldier On! She lyricizes it into The Far Horizon, which is a mistake: she should simply deliver it right into Power’s eyes. But who can blame her; a speech of that length would daunt the doughtiest actress, which she certainly was not. Tyrone Power is another matter. He had remarkable eyes, and a face completely animated when speaking, so that his inner life moves invisibly through it. I say “invisibly” because he is not “doing his face”. Rather his inner spirit passes through his face, without grimace, without movement, and that genuineness is what people are really picking up from him, reading without eyes. Myrna Loy said of him: ‘He had a very strong sense of other people, heightened by a kind of mysticism, a spiritual quality. You could see it in his deep, warm eyes.”  And so the handsomest man in Hollywood never uses his looks to get what he wants. That’s not the way he was wired. When she asked him what he would like to be if he were not Ty Power: “‘I would like to be the wind, so I could be light and free and be anywhere I want at any time., I could go all around the world and look in people’s windows and share their joys and sorrows.’” It make him a highly sympathetic, responsive and fluid actor. Good for him. Young actors who want to learn film acting would do to watch him.

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Second Honeymoon

18 Jul

Second Honeymoon – Directed by Walter Lang. High Comedy. An argumentative formerly married couple meets again and flirts. 84 minutes Black and White 1937

* * *

Tyrone Power is 23 when he makes this upper crust pastry. He’s so beatuiful that he is more attractive than Loretta Young. And, just as important, he has a wonderful comedic sense. He is charming, good-natured, fun, ready, and real in the quick-take wit of a comedy that might have been written by Noel Coward, and, indeed, once was written by Noel Coward under the assumed name of Private Lives. Looking at it one wonders how the Depression audiences could stand the goings-on of these spoiled folks; they indulge in a vicious deep sea fishing party at one point, which makes one’s hair curl. Anyhow, the film is a perfect example of costumes making the character, and Power and Young and Claire Trevor, who plays a funny married friend, wear their threads with a difference. The rube Stu Erwin plays a virginal nerd as Power’s valet, of all things, and introduces a lower-class invigoration as does Marjorie Weaver who is refreshing and altogether excellent as a voluble and principled cigarette girl. At one point Power asks to kiss her, is granted the privilege, and when she asks him why he wanted to, he says, “I just wanted to know what it felt like to kiss an honest woman.” So the script does have its pleasant byways. At this point in his career, which was to establish Power as the only major male star at Fox, Power was being groomed as a matinee idol, which he became. But there are two types of matinee idol. The first type, the one here, is the idol women are attracted to. That’s what he became at first, and women went to see him. The second type is the sort whom both women and men want to see, thus doubling his box office draw, and this came about when Power was put into a series of swashbuckling roles, starting with The Mark Of Zorro. Power was one of the few male Hollywood stars who could wear period clothes. Here the period is contemporary, and he looks smashing. All his films as Fox made lots of money. This one looks like it deserved it.

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Son Of Fury

10 Jul

Son Of Fury  Directed by John Cromwell. Costume Romance. The heir to a great English estate vows to take his rightful place presently occupied by a selfish Uncle. 94 mintues Black and White 1942.

* * * * *

In those days, the male stars were more beautiful than the female stars, but the female stars were better actors. Joel Macrea, John Wayne, John Payne, Cary Grant, Henry Fonda, Clark Gable were gorgeous guys, and the most gorgeous of all was Tyrone Power. His looks were black Irish with Garbo-long eyelashes – along the lines of George Clooney, except Power, of course, was better looking. Clooney has one advantage over Power in that Clooney is now alive and Power is not, which means that Power is no longer seen as sexually attractive by those who grew up with him in the 30s, people whose sexual development is simultaneous with his own. It’s what makes a star and keeps a star a star. In Power’s case, he also had talent, but, because of his scripts, it was banked – right into Zanuck’s account, for Power was the biggest star at Fox. Zanuck assigned him role after role the same. You can see the responsibility a superstar of that era had to meet by the dumbing down of their range, while George Sanders and Dudley Digges especially savor the scenery. Diggs really has a good time; playing a mercenary lawyer, he gobbles up the camera like roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. In the scene Power has the want; Digges want is to deflect the want, but just imagine what Digges comes on with in this scene. Sits behind a desk the whole time, and plays, not a particular action or want, but rather a way of life, all-powerful and impressed by nothing. What a perfect choice to make to play the key moment in the scene. And later on, to make his entrance into court and dress himself in court. Also check out George Sanders’ opening moment when he has to oblige a ruthless close-up to tell us that his long-lost nephew has been discovered. His response is conventional; what lies behind it is the genius to have created the energy of a man who enjoys his own greed. And that, not his technique and not his want or intention, is the force that drives the truth of the moment into life. And so we have the great character actors of the movies doing the same thing forever and also in this film, Henry Davenport as the loving gramps, John Carradine (who was a bad actor but an understandable one), and Elsa Lanchester (who is also a bad actor, because self-conscious of her effects, but believable here). And Tyrone Power was just such a type-cast actor. He played the Tyrone Power type, and film after film duplicated the format, including an early childhood, here played by little Roddy MacDowell, completely devoid of sentimentality, firm in his energy, and fascinating to watch in his withheld ruthlessness. Power was a master at mediating the unbelievable lines he was given in these costume shows. He never overplays his hand, and so the lines sound believable. It is not that he believes in them, so much that the decency he summons plays off a certain challenge to carry him through them. He was a romantic actor par excellence, which means that his sexual instrument is not lustful but lyrical. In wooing a lady he is not rapacious but fun and kind and heart struck. Bolder with Frances Farmer as milady and more bowled over by Gene Tierney doing a South Seas hula-hula, but always respectful of the lady. If you can look beyond his mesmerizing beauty, into his eyes you can see how he comes alive and in what ways. The direction by John Cromwell is discrete, the filming by Arthur C. Miller is narratively helpful, unintrusive, and, in the London rather than the South Seas scenes, spectacularly convincing, as are the fight scenes between Sanders and Power, for they are cunningly performed by bewigged stunt extras.  The score by Alfred (too-many-violins) Newman is intrusive, the exact opposite of Power’s presence, and the perfect model of what not to do while performing balderdash.

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