Saturday, 19 September 2009
Margaret Sullavan's voice
Has there ever been any sound in film history more beautiful and heart-breaking than Margaret Sullavan's voice? Right now, I don't think I'll ever believe otherwise. At any given moment in Borzage's "The Mortal Storm" (1940) she'll break your heart. There's something so unique, so radiant, so hurt, so courageous, so fragile and so inspiring in her husky voice that it can't help produce that effect. Maybe it's the sense of impending doom she projects. Whatever it is, she's spellbinding and I know I am not the first to fall under her spell.
I've only seen five films with her (she only did 17) - one was William Wyler's "The Good Fairy", so long ago that I have forgotten it; the second was Lubitsch's romantic comedy "The Shop around the Corner" and since July, three of her four Borzages - "Three Comrades", "The Shining Hour" and "The Mortal Storm". In each and every one of these three she left my heart in pieces - she truly had me at hello.