Friday, March 26, 2010

Upperworld (1934)

I'd noticed this was on TCM and, not having seen many Warren William pictures, decided at the last minute to tape it.   Last night I sat down to watch it while I worked on Silent Stanzas, and wound up scribbling notes for my review:

"Ginger is effervescent!"
"Drooling over the art deco!"
"Shake your Powder Puff!"

It started off as a rather lighthearted movie, going in the direction of so many pre-Codes: man is married, wife is neglectful, man finds consolation elsewhere - but then it took a sharp dramatic turn.  Ginger Rogers is just right as Lily Linda, the "elsewhere" - bright and lovely but with that slightly hard edge.  I was rather underwhelmed by Mary Astor, who spent the majority of the picture all but ignoring her husband and begrudging her son Tommy (Dickie Moore) for basically being a child; by the big apology/come-around at the end, I was indifferent. 

Warren William, I know why he has so many admirers.  Even in a paint-by-numbers drama such as this, he exhibits such subtle control over his emotions...they play across his face like shadows, barely there and then gone.  You feel each one as he does, and at the apex of the story, your heart aches for him - even though he's been less than virtuous. 

My final note:  "Andy Devine gives his girlfriend used lipsticks.  Ew."

I give this one: 


BaronessVonVintage said...

I adore that "Shake Your Powder Puff" routine, too..and agree about Ginger in this film!!

Avalon76 said...

She's perfect - angelic on the outside but hiding a world of struggle and pain underneath.