Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dodsworth (1936)

Since I rarely read the synopsis of a film before watching it [ironic I write reviews for others to read huh?], I didn't know if I should expect a comedy or drama on this film. For some reason it only seems like comedies from this era make it onto any of the lists I'm working on. However, this drama was a refreshing change, and good as well.

Directed by William Wyler and starring Walter Huston and Ruth Chatterton, as Mr. and Mrs. Dodsworth, and Mary Astor as Mrs. Cortright. The film starts with Mr. Dodsworth selling his automobile company and retiring off of the profit. It is evident from the start that they are two completely different people that really don't interact much. Mr. Dodsworth seems like a small town man who worked hard, built up a company and is not rich. Mrs. Dodsworth is a socialite who turns her nose up as every thing that is not up to her standard. The two start his retirement by taking a long trip to Europe. In this day and age that meant a long sea voyage with a several month stay. From the start of the trip it is clear that Mrs. Dodsworth is not ready to be a grandmother and sink into retirement, she wants to live, which also means she likes the company of other men.

A film about a constrained relationship with a woman in a mid-life crisis is nothing I expected from a 1930's film. When they spend some time apart Mr. Dodsworth stays with Mrs. Cortright. I'm not sure if her name is supposed to be ironic "court" "right" because their courtship is strange to say the least. It is also interesting to note that the actress Mary Astor was going through a divorce during the shooting of this film.

I try not to define a lot of films this old as "Worth Watching" because I know people wouldn't check them out if I said a lot were. Not to mention I don't feel many really are worth the time. This one if very much worth your time.

Vote: 8/10

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0027532/

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