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

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Mary Astor and Kenneth MacKenna
THOSE WE LOVE (1932). Director: Robert Florey.

"It isn't wise to love anything so much that to lose it almost kills you."

Struggling novelist Freddie Williston (Kenneth MacKenna) meets May (Mary Astor) in the crowd during the Armistice Day celebration, and discovers that she's just bought a copy of his book. Before long they are married and a child is on the way, along with a string of bestsellers. Had Those We Love looked at the life of an unsuccessful or fair-to-middling author it might have had more dramatic heft, but once Freddie becomes a rich and famous author, the only complication that can be thrown into the couple's lives comes in the form of Valerie (Lilyan Tashman), a married vamp who has set her cap for Freddie. May jumps to conclusions about Val's relationship with her husband, and inadvertently makes matters worse. Will this family survive this crisis, and will Valerie go on her merry way? Those We Love manages to be entertaining because of the cast. Mary Astor is as wonderful as ever, while MacKenna has charm to spare. Tommy Conlon [The Sign of the Cross] is swell as their son, Ricky, who might be as wise as both of his parents. Virginia Sale [Lovin' the Ladies] scores as the maid Bertha, as does Tashman [One Heavenly Night] as the lynx-like (if not terribly beautiful) man-stealer, Valerie. From the first Freddie seems more interested in making money than in crafting lasting literature, so one can imagine his books are as superficial as he is. Those We Love misses virtually every opportunity to say anything about the writing life, the publishing business, or the creative process, and was adapted from a Broadway play. Florey directed The Beast with Five Fingers and many, many others.

Verdict: Fairly creaky, but the acting puts it over. **1/2.

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