UCLA Festival of Preservation
dir. Alfred L. Werker, USA, 1932, 35mm, 64 min. b/w
Middle-aged playboy Andrew Hoyt, who had previously been a staunch bachelor, gets sucked into marrying a beautiful but vacuous young blond, after her older sister has expertly set the bait. Realizing pretty quickly that he is not up to the vigorous physical activity demanded by his eager 20-something spouse, he conspires with his best friend and his loyal secretary to find a new plaything for the soon to be ex-wife. Adolphe Menjou plays the self-centered playboy with his tongue delightfully deep in his cheek, knowingly riffing on his own previously established screen persona as the suave older lover, but unafraid to also exhibit the frailties of advancing age. The scenes of the California honeymoon, during which the blond energizer bunny and the world-weary lounge lizard engage in ceaselessly healthy sports activity are particularly funny. Joan Marsh looks like a carbon copy of Jean Harlow, only twice as dumb, a girl who just wants to have fun. Meanwhile, Minna Gombell’s gold-digging older sister stage manages her younger sibling’s marital career, but can’t stave off disaster when the girl falls for some fresh young Latin eye candy in the shape of Don Alvarado as a rumba teacher.
Based on a play by James Forbes, Precious, that opened and closed on Broadway in January-February 1929, this unsentimental pre-Code film features some of the crispest and fastest-paced dialogue of any film coming out of Fox; indeed, its cynical tone and rhythm rivals anything produced at Warner Bros. in that period.
Joan Marsh started her career as a child star in 1915, but had only graduated to supporting roles from bit parts in 1931, when she was contracted to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; she appears here as a loan out to Fox. Her performance earned her starring roles in subsequent films. Director Alfred Werker not only keeps the action and dialogue going at lightning speed, he also manages to insert numerous bits of physical comedy, all of which made this film the hit of the Cinefest in Syracuse, when an unpreserved print was screened there last year. —Jan-Christopher Horak
Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding provided by The Packard Humanities Institute
Restored from a 35mm nitrate print. Laboratory services by Film Technology Company, Inc., The Stanford Theatre Film Laboratory and Chace Audio by Deluxe. Special thanks to: 20th Century Fox.
Me and the Boys
dir. Victor Saville, USA, 1929, 35mm, 7 min. b/w