A Notorious Affair (1930), MOVIES, PHOTOS
Comments 52

A Notorious Affair (1930)

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:

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52 Comments

  1. the countess says

    Wow these pics wouldnt ever download for me till i got high speed ..wow just drooling.Could that 1st one get any sweeter.If Basil [in no 3] smolders any harder, He will combust this blog

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  2. Jake Duntz says

    Yes, Francis was a notorious nympho, if Baz didn’t get a piece it was because he didn’t ask πŸ™‚

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  3. Wow, never seen this film, but now I really want to.Just discovering Basil and found this site while googling him. It’s really good. I had no idea he had played romantic parts but I am so glad as I always got fantasies going about his Sherlock! Now I really want to see him kiss someone!

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  4. I always thought this film was very erotic in a subtle way. The relationship between Rathbone and Francis is very frankly presented, and their chemistry is sizzling!

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  5. I am hooked on your site and the Beautiful Basil. Why didn’t he play Maxim deWinter? He was far better casting than Olivier who was too young and too soft. Imagine the movie with him in it – much better balance, for one thing you can picture him being able to punch George Sanders to the ground whereas the idea that slight little five feet seven Larry could do that was ridiculous, and all that brooding remoteness he could have brought to it.

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    • roesbette says

      Larry was taller than 5’7″; I think he was almost 6′. Although I agree on the casting — when I read Rebecca at age 13, Basil’s image was the one that stuck in my mind.

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  6. carolinapanthersfan says

    Well, I wasslightly shocked at how open this film was about the Countess’s promiscuity and nymphomania. It’s pretty clear she wears Basil out sexually and emotionally and then dumps him.

    Umm is it ok to add – wouldn’t we all like the chance to do that!?

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  7. claudia says

    I watched this yesterday. Another crzy accent! But he is so pweetty you can forgive him

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  8. Haunted Maiden says

    His little face in the photo when he’s in bed, how amazingly lovely is it? Awww bless.

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  9. Baby Bear says

    He’s very hot, but he doesn’t make me cry, he just make me want to jump him

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  10. grace says

    Basil is so beautiful it makes me cry. Literally. There’s something about his face and the perfection of it that makes me just cry. Is that mad?

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  11. Does anyone have this film? I mean I think I am literally going to die if I don’t see this film this weekend.

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  12. Edward FitzHugh says

    I have a question that is very off topic and I’m sorry, but I am hoping someone can help me. I read somewhere a while ago that the famous photo of St. Pauls Cathedral at night surrounded by burning buildings at the height of the London Blitz was popularized by Basil Rathbone when he came across it and had it printed as Christmas Cards in aid of the British Red Cross war Relief Fund in 1940 or 1941. I can’t find anything about it in a Google search, but I know I read it, can anyone help?

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  13. Katoodlel Lolly says

    I really liked this movie, but I can’t really give all my opinions and ideas about it without talking about it more, so as to not spoil it for anyone. BUT I will say that Billie Dove performance was excellent, as was BelovedBasil’s too. Thanks for reading.*_*

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    • rosebette says

      I’ve downloaded this one, courtesy of our gracious host. While it’s not a great movie by any means, it’s great fun. Baz’s character is a bit of an artistic baby, pretty as hell, but a real whiner. The scene where he complains that his milk is cold is great camp! I love the shot of him lying in bed, looking upward for Mommy to take care of him. And to rhyme with camp – Kay the vamp. Don’t know what attire I prefer her in, those clinging haute couture gowns, or the mannish riding outfit in the beginning. She’ major girl crush territory for me.

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      • Winnie the Pooh says

        I love when he says his milk is cold. His big eyes and his lost little boy expression. I’d be happy to be mommy and take care of him. πŸ™‚

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        • rosebette says

          As someone who has been in the mommy role, including to a husband who is a bit of a hypochondriac, my idea of “taking care of him” might be to throw the milk at him. I think Kay Franics “took care of him,” and when she was finished with him, he was practically an invalid. I think she tried to devour every man under 35 in the movie.

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          • Do you mean what I think you mean?? *picturing him being “taken care of” until he’s practically an invalid*

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              • The scene with Kay and Basil in her “boudoir” is so erotic even though they barely touch each other. She is pure sex and he can convey intoxicated desire like few other men can.

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                • GRETCHEN says

                  *picturing Basil looking “intoxicated” with desire*

                  …AMEN, he can!!! πŸ™‚

                  (I just HAVE to see this movie, now.)

                  Like

  14. Margaret G says

    I had no idea Basil was the first choice for “Reunion in Vienna.” I have to say I think he would have been much better casting. I’m very interested to know more about why he turned it down and went home to England. Was there perhaps a family crisis? I always had the impression his sister died young.

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    • Basil says

      I think he looks like Ian from smosh in the top pic (I don’t know why…he just……..there’s a likeness O_o)

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      • GRETCHEN says

        OMG…I…LOVE…SMOSH!!! πŸ™‚

        (But, I think Baz looks a LOT MORE like his buddy Vincent Price in these pics!!)

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          • the countess says

            dont know but you can watch them haveing a drinking contest in Tower Of London. By the way part of its on you tube

            Like

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