7 March 2018 | Artemis-9
Is it an antique, or just old stuff in second hand?
«The so-called 'lesser' features were deposited with the UCLA Film and Television Archive, and a number have been preserved by that institution. Among the Fox titles preserved by the UCLA Film and Television Archive (is) Bachelor's Affairs (1932).» (Anthony Slide, in Nitrate Won't Wait: A History of Film Preservation in the United States, by Anthony Slide.)
I wish all the Hollywood films I saw were as bad as this "lesser movie"!
When the pretentiously rich and educated fiancée (Joan Marsh) enters the New York antique shop of Hoyt & Radcliff, she remarks that "the furniture looks so old..." She is told that they are indeed *very* old, and then she replies, "Ah! So you mean this is second hand stuff..." or words to that effect. This movie certainly is an antique, a PRECIOUS one, to make a play on words with the intended title of the movie, that was the title of the play it is based on.
I had the chance to watch this in a glorious 35mm print, in March 5, 2018, when the movie was presented at Lisbon's Cinemateca Portuguesa by Jan-Christopher Horak, the director of the UCLA Film and Television Archive, who selected it among the best jewels of their preservation work. Rightly so.
The audience guffawed all the time, when they were not laughing out loud, and at the end - after listening in silence to the two minutes of music on the empty screen (a thing modern audiences probably don't know what that was for) - there was a good clap of hands.
Some dialogue may be lost to the new generations, like the secretary's name, Jane Remington, mistaken for Underwood (the most popular typewriter's mark in 1932), the old story of Adam and Eve is not. The film is about romantic love, but it is definitely of physical attraction, and sex, shown with tact but soon to be banned by the Hays Code.
I take the film proclaims that truth should prevail above everything, and true friendship is as important as love... All bad things happen starting with some "little lie", and Radcliff's loyalty to the senior associate of the firm will save the day.
There are two moments I wish to call the attention to, of future viewers, two of many I think the director planted to keep us riveted to the screen for the short duration of the movie.
The film takes place with five main characters, all of the upper rich part of society, or pretending to be. The so-called working class is not part of it. Yet, when we pass from the cruise ship to New York, the close-up of Andrew Hoyt's (Adolphe Menjou) shop-window serves both the purpose of exhibiting a pair of antiques and the mirror-image of a two-deck bus going down the street, full to capacity of people going to their daily work. One second is enough for us to know that there is another life out there.
Stella (Mina Gombell) is worried that her sister has not yet returned from a night out with the rumba teacher, and goes out past 2:00 a.m. looking for them. The car is parked in front of the house, empty. There's *the couple* sitting on a bench, back to her (and us), looking at the full moon. "Eva!..." she calls out in a rage. The couple stands up, and turn round facing her: it's a blonde maid and the butler. Stella is as confused as the couple, and goes back home. The couple sits again, and the maid replaces her head on the butler's shoulder, as she was when we first saw them. All is quiet again. Yet, for a fraction of a second, the maid has a startle. All is quiet again. Was I the only one who imagined the butler's hand going to her breast, hidden from us?
If there was a Distributor as greedy as Stella was, I'm sure this movie would be soon in a DVD and a pay-site. Until then, drive to the nearest theater where a film archive will show it.