4 February 2020 | TheLittleSongbird
Worth connecting to
Was always interested in seeing Bette Davis and Michael Redgrave in late roles, being admirers of both. More so Davis than Redgrave, but it is as hard to forget Redgrave's performance in 'The Browning Version' as much as it is with Davis and 'All About Eve'. Really like melodramas when done well, whether in film, in television, in very old cartoons and on stage with plays and operas. Also saw it briefly compared to Terrence Rattigan's 'Separate Tables', love the play and Rattigan and the film version is excellent.
'Connecting Rooms' is very hard to find. Practically obscure even, though somehow did manage to see it online. That is a real shame, as, despite not being perfect by any stretch (with a couple of the potential traps that melodramas can have being fallen into), it is a long way from a bad film. Actually found 'Connecting Rooms' to be good, moving and very well acted, deserving of much more attention and exposure when far inferior films have a significant amount of marketing and also a wide audience.
Maybe 'Connecting Rooms' could have been opened up more as there is a staged play feel at times. Like in the pace, which could have been tighter and had less of the pauses that dulled the action somewhat.
Although the dialogue is mostly very well-written and thought-provoking, again it could have tightened up as there are parts that have a little too much talk. A touch too sappy occasionally too.
However, 'Connecting Rooms' is shot with the right amount of intimacy without being static, and the costumes and sets are not one's definition of big and grand but they are opulent and suit the intimacy and chamber-like mood of the piece very well. The music in my mind avoided over-scoring and being intrusive in placement. The dialogue has a lot of intelligence and pathos, the latter being executed in a way that mostly is not too sentimental and quite moving. The direction is never less than competent, even if there could have a little more flow between transitions. Liked the 'All About Eve' reference and it was interesting to see the hands of Amaryllis Fleming featured when Davis plays the cello (an instrument close to my heart, with it being my second instrument after voice).
The story absorbs and has enough moments where it is heart-wrenching. The characters intrigue and feel real. Kay Walsh is always reliable in her role and Alexis Kanner doesn't overplay his character's jealousy. Olga Georges-Picot is touching. It's the two leads that stand out though. It is great to see Redgrave reign in and be effectively subtle, and Davis often shows the beauty of acting where eyes and expressions without words are so telling and in such a gracefully dignified and moving way.
In summation, good film deserving of more exposure. 7/10