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Strangers in Love (1932)
He's double again!
I recently saw Strangers in Love. I believe Fredric March was particularly good at playing double-role: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde docet.
He plays Buddy and he plays Arthur two twin brothers so physically alike and so different in behaving, interests and attitudes.
Arthur is posh, snob and envious about his brother Robert who is so easy thinking, good at sports, having no money, living away from his brother . He's everything but snob. One day Buddy meets his brother again in order to ask for some money and Arthur says it all about his feelings for Buddy.
During this fight, Arthur dies because of a heart attack and Buddy takes his place, pretending to be Arthur him self.
From now on, the movie turns out to be quite nice, elegant, and also ironic. Fredric March is irresistible, witty, funny and he's the one who makes the difference in terms of talent, presence, ability and humor. Fredric March makes the movie.
He was not a matinée idol: he was an actor.
A nice product of US cinematography in the 30's.
Design for Living (1933)
I bought the Gary Cooper collection because of "Design for Living". It didn't disappoint me. This movie is classy, it's full of wit and sexually free. I found the plot intriguing, the set excellent, the costumes fine and Lubitsch inspired together with Ben Hecht (lovely and smart screenplay).
The movie shows 4 actors only, which could be considered its strength if the actors were all good. 1 out of 4 is good and 2 out of 4 are really good. 1 out of 4 has got nothing to do with such environments, dialogs and sophisticated comedy. Gary Cooper does not fit to me. He's a sort of amazing good looking and so dashing statue to look at. Nothing more. He just doesn't look comfortable in acting spoiling intellectual shades. He doesn't work to me.
Miriam Hopkins is good, she's mischievous, charming and funny. She plays the free woman with intelligence, combining sensuality and brain. Audience - even the male one - does understand why she can't choose between the two guys and she conquers it. Every woman would like to be her; that's the message she strongly brought on the screen: being free of living life the way she desires.
Edward Everett Horton is perfect, hilarious and very elegant. He's the right choice to play Plunkett Inc. and he didn't let it down. He IS Plunkett Inc.!
Fredric March is so charming, sophisticated, sexy and so right for Thomas. He does much better here than in other movies (e.g. Anna Karenina) which could seem more suitable for him. He's perfect for Lubitsch so much and his performance is a top one. He's a fine comedian too, he's measured and passionate at the same time and he's really handsome. His sensuality is made up either by intellectual attitude or a physical one.
Don't know why he's been forgotten, a wonderful actor like he is. Can anybody tell me?
I do suggest to get this movie and to enjoy it since it's really a nice touch in our collection. We do need nice and elegant touches. Especially nowadays.
A Star Is Born (1937)
It's Norman's movie
I believe this as one of the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen. I enjoyed the story, the dialog and above all I enjoyed the atmosphere and the actors. All of them are great but to me Fredric March is outstanding.
Norman/Alfred is a wonderful character: frail, undignified, touchy, weak and able to love Vicki/Esther so much, with all his heart.
Fredric March brings all of it on the screen, providing one of his best performances here.
If you would like to become an actor, I believe you should watch this movie and Mr. March's way of acting. Pay attention to his eyes, his hands, his face and his moves, especially when he interrupts his wife thanking everybody for the Oscar she got and claims he deserves three statues for the worse performances.
He is overcome by himself and starts dying. I just shivered.
To me, this version can't be compared to its remakes. The allure and the fascination of Hollywood have been perfectly represented here, together with an unpleasant and creepy feeling of emptiness.