Movie Diary 5/30/2018

I Lived with You (Maurice Elvey, 1933). This film provides a good long look at Ivor Novello, the famous composer-writer-actor, upon whose play it is based. Novello is a blithe Russian who claims to be a prince, despite the fact that he’s living on the streets as the movie begins. Taken in by a middle-class family, the Russian inflames the household with his airy pronouncements and hifalutin’ manners. It’s a funny, sneakily subversive film, played to the hilt by a lively cast that includes Ida Lupino and Jack Hawkins. Novello is a riot, with crack timing and a confident presence; his breeziness is liberating, and some of his patter is Groucho-worthy. About a year after this he left movies to concentrate on the stage. Too bad – just having him onscreen for five minutes demolishes the idea that we should take any of this nonsense seriously. A rare gift.

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