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

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


BABBITT (1934). Director: William Keighley.

Loose adaptation of Sinclair Lewis' novel Babbitt features Guy Kibbee (pictured) in the title role of a family man and real estate entrepreneur who sees a chance to move up in the world by helping out in a shady deal that has to do with acquiring property for a new airport which will not only enrich his coffers but put him in good with his social betters. He also comes afoul of a viperish young lady named Tanis Judique (Claire Dodd) who is not above resorting to blackmail. Babbitt is also ostricized because he sticks up for an old pal (Minor Watson) who is so verbally flagellated by his wife (Minna Gombell) that he winds up shooting her. But Babbitt is fortunate enough to have a very wise and loving wife himself (Aline MacMahon) who not only puts up with his nonsense but bails him out of his problems. Frankly, the movie glosses over all kinds of borderline behavior on Babbitt's part and is certainly morally confused, but on the plus side it's a very entertaining, very well-acted, fast-paced comedy-drama that holds the attention throughout.

Verdict: An entertaining curiosity with great performances . ***.

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