The Woman in Red (1935)

Approved   |    |  Drama

The Woman in Red (1935) Poster

A polo player's wife becomes the mystery woman in a Long Island horsy-set murder trial.



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Cast & Crew

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Robert Florey


Wallace Irwin (novel), Mary C. McCall Jr., Peter Milne

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12 March 2017 | dougdoepke
A More Subdued Stanwyck
The movie seems right out of the class-conscious 30's. Stanwyck's Shelby is a very competent show-horse rider for wealthy woman Nicko (Tobin). But when Shelby marries Johnny (Raymond) a jealous Nicko fires her. Trouble is Johnny's wealthy but now destitute family continues their snobbish airs and duly snub Shelby. Good thing the wealthy Gene (Eldridge) puts aside his love for Shelby and comes to the newly weds aid in setting up a business. But then, there's a fateful yacht party and things come to a head.

Stanwyck finally gets to show some fire near the end. Otherwise her role is fairly subdued and not one of her more memorable. It doesn't help that Raymond comes across as pretty bland and not a good match for Stanwyck. In my book, the highlight comes when an angry Shelby drops pretenses and denounces the assembled snobs. I sense that anxious 30's audiences were right up there with her. Then too, Warner's was the studio of record for that gritty period. Nonetheless, the settings are almost all gilded upper crust, and a long way from Cagney's shabby urban slums.

All in all, the parts fail to gel into any real impact, despite the dramatic elements. I suspect much of that is due to pedestrian direction (Florey) and Raymond's rather insipid performance. The latter's certainly capable of much better as his commanding role in the riveting Plunder Road (1957) shows. Too bad something like that didn't happen here.

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