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

Monday, September 15, 2008


A NOTORIOUS AFFAIR (1930). Director: Lloyd Bacon.
Wealthy Patricia Hanley (Billie Dove) scandalizes her father and their friends by marrying a penniless violinist Paul Gherardi (Basil Rathbone). The only one of their crowd who is welcoming to Paul is the unfortunately predatory Countess Olga (Kay Francis, pictured), a sexually-free lady who leaves lipstick all over the stable boy. (This is the kind of movie that equates "loose" sexuality with evil.) As soon as Paul becomes a famous, flamboyant violinist, the countess gets her hooks in him and poor Pat is wringing her hands and consulting with daddy (Montagu Love). Talky and dull, A Notorious Affair could have benefited from a little more notoriety. Kay Francis steals the picture in her sexy, vibrant performance as the countess, but the others are also good. Even with an Italian accent, Rathbone scores as the touchy and temperamental Paul.
Verdict: Turn off the TV and find somebody to be notorious with. *1/2.

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