The Strange Love Of Molly Louvain

Michael Curtiz

Sog.: Basato Sull’opera Inedita «Tinsel Girl» Di Maurine Dallas Watkins; Scen.: Erwin Gelsey, Brown Holmes; F.: Robert Kurrle; Mo.: James Morley; Scgf.: Robert Haas; Mu.: Leo F. Forbstein; Int.: Ann Dvorak (Molly Louvain), Lee Tracy (Scottie Cornell), Richard Cromwell (Jimmy Cook), Guy Kibbee (Pop), Leslie Fenton (Nicky Grant), Frank Mchugh (Skeets), Hank Mann (Harley), Claire Mcdowell (Sig.Ra Shiller), Evelyn Knapp (Sally), Charles Middleton (Capitano Slade); Prod.: Warner Bros. E First National Pictures Inc.; Pri. Pro.: Maggio 1932; 35mm. D.: 70′. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

This is a tale of a life wretched enough to be almost a ghost story. Molly Louvain (Ann Dvorak, fresh from Scarface) has more than her share of bad luck, blind unhappy coincidences, mental inheritance dominated by a shadow of a mother who left a good girl a dirty, predestined deal in life – much, starting with an unexpected baby, seems to be a mer- ciless repeat of the mother’s life, so that it spells finality. It’s also a beautifully conceived film about coincidence as the real scriptwriter of life, leading Molly to the unlikely but good company of one of those tough reporters only WB could mold into symbols of the fleeting times – the falling in love scene is strange enough to flash-forward to an association with Pickpocket and its touching final line. According to the tradi- tion of the times, the film is very fast and is far from flawless, although the art of showing everything that a present day 140 minute film can offer in 70 minutes is impressive as such. Melodrama’s conventions merge beautifully into improbably fast rhythms alternating hardness and tenderness. Those again are direct traits of “one of those tinsel girls – good in a Christmas tree, doesn’t stand the rain” – the portrait of Mol­ly, with her vertigo between collapsing to life as a prostitute or salvation, is wonderful. As a fantasy about love and victory over drab circumstances, The Strange Love of Molly Lou­vain is charmingly unlikely but so full of life that there can’t be any complaints.

Peter von Bagh

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