A FEATHER IN HER HAT (1935) is a weird little film, and the Baz’s presence in it is hard to explain in some ways, though interesting and engaging to watch. He plays Captain Courtney, a WWI vet, psychologically scarred and taken to booze to ease his pain, who is adopted by “cockney” widow, Pauline Lord, as a live-in life and speech coach for her only son, in the hope he can turn him into a Gentleman. The plan succeeds brilliantly as the son turns into Louis Hayward, with cut glass Bertie Wooster vowels and patent leather hair – but this is only the start of the angst, pain and misunderstandings…
Basil is grayed up for much of the film and evidently intended to be playing someone considerably older than his real age (60+ presumably, though this doesn’t really fit with his having been active in WWI), and he is also required to be a colorless, retiring sort of chap, which doesn’t fit easily with his always vibrant (in those days) on-screen persona and general physical beauty. But he does a decent job within those limitations, and it’s interesting to see him allowed to do some subtle bits of character acting for a change. Pauline Lord, playing the widow, was only two years older than him, though she looks old enough to be his mom, even when he’s grayed, which makes the hinted romance between them a little jarring.
Still I recommend the movie to anyone who enjoys classic Hollywood, creaky curiosities in film – and of course the Baz.
Here is the complete movie. It might not be here very long, so make the most of it while you can 🙂
And now, as it’s Sunday, here are some more caps – courtesy of A Folded Umbrella on tumblr