Movie Diary 6/5/2022

21 Days (Basil Dean, 1940). An intriguing noirish set-up, weird execution. Laurence Olivier plays an unlucky chap who accidentally (more or less) kills his immigrant lover’s first husband, then tries to cover up the crime. An innocent man is arrested for the murder, which leads to some hand-wringing. Vivien Leigh plays the lover, in light accent; Leslie Banks is Olivier’s older brother, a distinguished legal eagle whose career could be ruined by any hint of scandal. It ought to work, but gets talky and distracted. Shot in 1937, thus before Gone with the Wind or Wuthering Heights, but released after Leigh and Olivier became Hollywood names. They look very skinny here.

Madonna of the Seven Moons (Arthur Crabtree, 1945). Wacko Gainsborough production about a woman (Phyllis Calvert), traumatized during her convent youth, who grows up to live a split-personality life: partly as a staid upper-class wife, partly as a wild-living mistress to an Italian rogue (Stewart Granger). Each side is unaware of the other. The madness would be fun if the movie had more pep, but Granger (who also looks very skinny at this point) is the only person acting in the spirit of this nonsense.