Monday, August 4, 2008

Let Us Be Gay (1930) Film Review

Plot Summary - Precode drawing room melodrama starring Norma Shearer as Kitty Brown, dowdy and devoted mother and wife to cad Bob Brown (Rod LaRocque), currently having an affair with a fur-clad glamour girl. Devastated Kitty finds out about the affair and divorces Bob. Cut to three years later - Kitty returns from Paris having undergone a complete makeover and new personality. Now stylish, glamorous, man-hopping, and jaded - she arrives for a weekend stay with a wealthy, eccentric dowager (Marie Dressler) whose parlour is always full with an assortment of characters of the tennis set variety. Dressler's character asks Kitty, a great man trapper these days, to work her wiles to take away an undesirable suitor from her soon-to-be-married-to-a-more-desirable-man granddaughter. The twist - the suitor, also a weekend guest, is Kitty's ex. They keep the secret from the other guests though, as popular Kitty spends the weekend constantly surrounded by most of the males as Bob glares jealously nearby.

Review - This film is quite entertaining fare - it's completely "owned" by Shearer who is in most scenes and gives a captivating performance (though I must say, Marie Dressler does steal some scenes here and there). Shearer even allows herself to appear with unflattering hairstyle, no makeup, frumpy attire, and nearly unrecognizable in the earlier scenes of this film (she makes up for it later wearing a bevy of glamorous gowns and a moon lit, biased-cut satin negligee). Silent star Rod La Rocque is still handsome, though his acting is just tolerable here. Watch for a very young Dickie Moore as Shearer's little son in the beginning of the film. Good movie. Rating - 8 to 9 stars

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