Movie Diary 6/30/2021

I Live My Life (W.S. Van Dyke, 1935). No idea what the hell this is, other than a bored-heiress scenario gone weird. Richie Joan Crawford meets archaeologist Brian Aherne in Greece, where he is digging up a statue (leading to much talk of the Pygmalion story); despite her bratty behavior, he falls in love and follows her to New York, where she still plans to marry an aristocrat because there’s a lot of dough hanging in the balance. A great deal of lively playing going on, favoring Aherne and Frank Morgan (as Crawford’s father), not so much Crawford, who bats her awning-sized eyelashes and flits around in search of comedy. The real star is Adrian, who designed the gowns, which are mightily impressive. The butlers are splendid, and Eric Blore and Arthur Treacher have their moments, although you want to see more of them together, in some kind of extended slap-fight. There are surreal moments and exchanges (Aherne very deliberately sitting on Crawford’s hat). By the time the movie reaches its abrupt ending, you’re well ready for it to be over, especially given the tiresome back-and-forth of the previous half-hour. Joe Mankiewicz is one of the screenwriters. One indelible moment: Eric Blore interrupting a romantic scene on a Grecian night by suddenly appearing on the back of a mule.

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