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


PASSION FLOWER (1930). Director: Uncredited.

"Men are kind of handy in the day time and sort of entertaining in the evening. But as far as I'm concerned, I'd just as soon have a good radio." -- Zazu Pitts.

Katherine (Kay Johnson) infuriates her father by marrying the family chauffeur Dan (Charles Bickford). Her cousin Dulce (Kay Francis) is married to a wealthy, much older man, Tony (Lewis Stone). Proud and stubborn, Dan refuses Dulce's help until circumstances force him to give in. Unfortunately the two proceed to fall in love, causing the expected painful complications. As the selfish Dulce, Francis isn't bad, but her part is too one-dimensional for us to feel much sympathy for her and at times her acting is artificial and stilted. Johnson is quite lovely and affecting as the heart-broken Katherine. The gruff Bickford is an unlikely lover boy but a good actor nevertheless; his scenes with his two little boys are touching (Dickie Moore is adorable as Tommy) but his character is also a bit of a stinker. Zazu Pitts plays Katharine and Dan's pessimistic landlady who somehow winds up moving to a farm with them as housekeeper.

Verdict: Entertaining, but maybe not enough passion. **1/2.

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