Again we have goodies courtesy of the amazing A Folded Umbrella. This time it’s some beautiful caps of that tremulous weepy A Notorious Affair (1930).
This is a pre-code movie that features an adulterous male and a blatantly promiscuous female who doesn’t have to die or go to jail or in any way suffer for her sins, something unimaginable a decade later. It also features one of the greatest ever contenders for Most Improbable Movie Illness, challenging Bette Davis’s awesome tour de force (“it’s going to rain, oh no wait it’s my brain tumor”) in Dark Victory.
This movie is also notable for being made during the period 1930-33 that’s been under discussion in the comments here. The Baz was at the top of his game, a matinee idol on Broadway and a leading man on screen, but in 1932 he turned down Reunion in Vienna (subsequently given to John Barrymore), quit Hollywood and returned to the UK, declaring his intention – dramatically and vehemently – never to go back. His reasons for taking this extreme step aren’t too clear right now, nor is the question of whether he did or did not walk out on an MGM contract at this time, so I’m going to be looking at all this in more detail in the next few months, in Serious Mode. Be prepared.
But right now all you, dear readers, need to know about A Notorious Affair is:
1. Basil plays Paul Gherardi, a violinist of weak character and luscious profile, who deserts his adoring wife, Billie Dove, for nympho-vamp Kay Francis (who steals the picture so fast Dove doesn’t seem to know what’s hit her).
2. Next rainy afternoon, get some chocolate and a bottle of wine and watch it.
Now here are some gorgeous captures of the lovely Gherardi looking luscious and weak, and with occasional violin: