Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

BLUEBEARD'S EIGHTH WIFE


BLUEBEARD'S EIGHTH WIFE (1938). Director: Ernst Lubitsch.


Nicolle (Claudette Colbert) falls in love with the extremely wealthy Michael Brandon (Gary Cooper) but right before the wedding she discovers that he's already been married to -- and divorced -- seven other women! Distraught not only by the fact of his previous marriages, but his cavalier -- and financial --attitude toward matrimony in general, Nicolle marries Michael but becomes the Wife from Hell, hoping he'll divorce her and she'll get a lifetime annuity. This meant-to-be-frothy comedy, although written by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett, is comparatively dull and mostly unfunny and illogical, and is no "screwball" classic. Cooper tries hard and has his moments, but he's no Cary Grant, and Colbert is at her most artificial and "actressy." Scenes between the two have absolutely no spontaneity but seem carved in cement. The supporting players, including Edward Everett Horton, Franklin Pangborn, Elizabeth Patterson, and David Niven, are more on the mark.

Verdict: One or two laughs, maybe, and you can miss them. *1/2

2 comments:

Harry Heuser said...

The opening scene is wonderful. The rest of the picture is too mean-spirited to be fun, let alone romantic.

William said...

I think you hit the nail on the head!