19 May 2005 | sryder-1
Swanson shows what it takes to be a star!
As one reviewer noted, the high spots are not evenly dispersed within the film. Also, my copy is also abridged, which probably accounts for the lack of transitions between many scenes. However, the seller seems to have had access to a fairly clear print. For me, the subway scene by itself was worth buying the tape. Swanson had a real gift for comedy, as seen in her varied expressions as she is shoved, loses her hat, and has to edge her way both onto and out of the subway car. Undoubtedly, the director deliberately chose tall or burly men for the scene, since they contrast so sharply with Swanson's diminutive stature. I happen to have viewed this film only a coupole of weeks after having seen Sadie Thompson. In my review of that film, I noted that she managed to infuse even the shady character of Sadie with some humor. The plot of Manhandled is, of course, much weaker, and it is difficult to remember any of the other performances. Swanson was a true star, one who could shine even in the midst of a mediocre plot, as she does here. If we think of "Bette Davis eyes", we can also think of the "Gloria Swanson facial expression" that she could vary to meet a diversity of emotions. As one who knew her first from Sunset Boulevard, it is interesting to note in her silent films, the anticipation of her performance there, with its wide range of emotions required from the star. When Norma Desmond laments the loss of faces in sound film, Swanson must ruefully have her own experience in mind. Without her, the stale plot of Manhandled would have gone the way of all B-flicks. That's what a star does.