29 January 2014 | andrew-119-97990
Love and betrayal sprinkled with humour
I have to admit that for the first five minutes or so of watching this film, I had low expectations - my only reason for persevering being the chance to see the lovely Paulette Goddard. It is loosely based - and I mean loosely - on a period in the life of Lucretia Borgia. A tale of love, betrayal and murder, sprinkled with moments of humour that manages to avoid spoiling the story's overall tone.
Paulette Goddard looks her most alluring self, and she the other leads all perform well. Whilst mostly serious, and at times very moving, the story also has moments of light humour. John Lund in particular handles this dual role very ably. Lund is, to my mind, much underrated. His comic timing is good, delivered in a gentle manner, and perhaps it is this that can sometimes give the impression that he is an acting lightweight.
Macdonald Carey plays Lucretia Borgia's devious brother yet, despite this, he is not entirely unlikeable - as he explains to his sister "We live in times when acts of cruelty are sometimes necessary to survive." It is Raymond Burr who, not for the first time, plays the less sympathetic villain here.
There are, as mentioned early, several moments of comedy, and one which stands out for me features a rather portly lute player, who has been paid by Lund to hide in the garden and sing in his place the same love song nightly to Goddard. Finally deciding to succumb to Lund's romantic gesture, she ventures into the garden, only to discover it is not Lund's dulcet tones that have being regaling her - Goddard's fury and the fearful pleading of this hapless singer are wonderful to behold.