Friday, 27 November 2009

Three-Cornered Moon (1933)

My copy of the Claudette Colbert DVD collection arrived a few days ago, making me very happy. "Three-Cornered Moon" is earliest film in it, made in 1933 as Claudette Colbert was becoming an established star and is advertised as the first screwball comedy. Looking at the most relevant examples of the genre (such as "Twentieth Century", "My Man Godfrey", "Bringing up Baby") it certainly fits that bill. It has only one little flaw: it isn't funny.

In fairness, the last 20 minutes or so are an improvement, but I think it took me nearly an hour to sketch a smile (the film is around 80 minutes long). As a comparison, when I watched "I Met Him in Paris" a few days before, which is part of the same collection, I laughed beginning to end, despite its predictability. But back to "Moon" - a rich, silly family in NY finds out they're bankrupt and now they must go earn a living. It's the depression, so it isn't easy. Only the daughter (Colbert) seems to have some sense, except in her choice of man. You can fill the rest.

I can't recommend this one to anyone - it might put them off old films forever. But this box also has Lubitsch's "Bluebeard's Eight Wife", Leisen's "No Time for Love" and the above mentioned "I Met Him in Paris" with a wonderful performance from Melvyn Douglas. I haven't seen the other two films ("Maid of Salem" and "The Egg and I") but these three are great fun, with the first two somewhat neglected classics.


Rupert said...

Miguel, I received the Claudette Colbert collection for Christmas and am very excited to jump into it feet first! I have already viewed MAID OF SALEM and thoroughly enjoyed it...alas, I am now wary of Three-Cornered Moon! However, many actors on the cusp of stardom made films that didn't quite make the grade, still fun to see them in early roles. Thanks for the tip.

Rupert@Classic Movies Digest

Miguel said...

Rupert, I hope you have a better experience with the film. This is just mine opinion - other people must like it, otherwise I expect Universal would have released something else instead.

Haven't watched "Maid of Salem" yet - maybe this weekend.