18 October 2015 | blanche-2
adaptation of Edith Wharton novel
This "Age of Innocence" from 1934, of course, cannot even approach the sumptuous beauty.amazing acting, and rich story-telling of the Martin Scorsese "Age of Innocence" from 1993 starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, and Michelle Pfeiffer.
The 1934 movie stars Irene Dunne as Ellen, John Boles as Newland, and Julie Haydon as May.
The story is told in flashback by the elderly Newland. As a young attorney in the late 1800s, he was engaged to May when her cousin Ellen came to visit from Europe. She plans to divorce her husband and is a social outcast, as these things were never done. Newland and Ellen fall in love. Do they defy convention and marry? Or does Newland marry May as promised?
Irene Dunne is lovely as Ellen. She was an actress who could do comedy and drama. John Boles was a huge star and not a tremendous actor. That kind of look was considered attractive way back when; today it has gone out of style.
There are good performances, but there is no way to watch this film after seeing the Scorsese film. It is studio-made, looks dull, and is dull. This is a story with a great deal of depth that seems untouched here -- lots going on underneath all the gentility, the trap of conventions -- here told as an ordinary story.
Helen Westley is wonderful as the cousins' grandmother, as is Laura Hope Crews as Dunne's aunt and May's mother. Lionel Atwill is also on hand as a married man who is a friend of Dunne's, an unacceptable situation.
The novel was also adapted into a play, on Broadway starring Katherine Cornell as Ellen and Franchot Tone as Newland.
If you haven't seen the stunning Scorsese film, see it.