RSS
 

The Lady In Question

29 May

The Lady In Question — directed by Charles Vidor. Melodrama. 80 minutes 1940.
★★★★★
The Story: Declared innocent when on trial for murder, a young woman is taken in by a kindly juror’s shopkeeper family.
~
The certainty that this young woman was the murder victim’s sidewalk pick-up, the certainty that she subsequently was his mistress, and the certainty that she murdered him are wholly exculpated by the overwhelmingly obvious alibi that she has the most beautiful posture you have ever seen.

No one who stands like that needs to murder anybody. Shoulders square and thrown back, superb porte de bras, head held high, chin tucked in, eyes wide, in a carriage both modest and assured — a carriage that creates a suspense sufficient to carry the entire picture. She didn’t do it, did she? She couldn’t have. Or could she? She is too astounding for one to know or to care. Her beauty outweighs justice.

I once saw a group standing outside The Winter Garden Theatre during matinée intermission and was stopped in my tracks by a woman’s back. She wore open-backed high heels and a white shirtdress. She chatted with a group that included Gregory Peck and others. I was dumbstruck. Her infallible carriage disqualified my need to know her name. She didn’t have to turn. From the way she stood, I could already tell from the back. It was, of course, Margot Fonteyne.

At lunch with my Agent John Dodds in Lutece, I looked up electrified to see walk across the carpet to her table a woman whom I knew from the resplendent disposition of her gait and bearing could be no other than Cyd Charisse.

Like these, the young woman in question is a dancer. Soon she would become the one whom Fred Astaire called his favorite partner. As you watch her here, she captures one’s attention to such a degree that it is almost as impossible to imagine such a creature, born to be alive to one’s eyes, as to suppose she could be guilty of a crime, to say nothing of ever being caught at one. She is so beautifully arranged there is no crime which she could not commit or that one would not commit for her, no crime for which one would ever wish to convict her or even so much as blame her. Her mien — a touch of primness in it — carries such impact, one becomes lost — in what? In her? In it? In the aura of her entrancing something-or-other?

In Rita Hayworth.

Age 21.

Before her cavorts the puppy Glenn Ford. He is so endearing that only an inbred naiveté could destine him to make five films with our Rita. This is the first. Only ingenuousness could stumble into close proximity to such an abundant lure. His bashfulness is the perfect foil to Rita in The Loves Of Carmen. He like her is too old for the part, and his costumes harm him, but he is just the gull the part demands. “Armies have marched over me,” says Rita in Fire Down Below and here, even at 21, we hope it is so. It forgives so much.

Brian Ahern is the pater famillias. He is tall, elegant, with perfect English enunciation and quaintly miscast in a part perfect for Wallace Beery. Evelyn Keyes plays his giddy daughter, Irene Rich, of silent screen fame, his wife.

Never mind anything else. Come to Rita Hayworth for all she is worth — and — trophy of trophies — she is worth so much — and to Glenn Ford salivating as every sane mortal, male and female, must insanely also do.

The Lady In Question is free to you on YouTube

 
 
Rss Feed Tweeter button Facebook button Technorati button Reddit button Myspace button Linkedin button Webonews button Delicious button Digg button Flickr button Stumbleupon button Newsvine button