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

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Joan Bennett and Claude Rains
THE MAN WHO RECLAIMED HIS HEAD (1934). Director: Edward Ludwig.

"She mustn't be shy. I don't want her to be. I was shy. It's been my curse."

Paul Verin (Claude Rains) is wary of going into partnership with publisher Henry Dumont (Lionel Atwill) because he was burned by him once before, but he has a wife (Joan Bennett) and daughter who will need a higher standard of living. So Verin agrees to ghost-write Dumont's editorials, making the latter beloved and famous. Unfortunately, while Verin is a war-hater, Dumont is secretly working with munition manufacturers [and trying to woo Verin's wife] and stirring up war fervor in order to make a profit. To this end he begins replacing Verin's words with his own ... Things ultimately all come to a "head." Despite the gruesome finale this is not a horror film but an interesting drama. Atwill and Bennett are wonderful and Rains is superb. We can tell Dumont is a miserable character because he has the appalling taste of coming on to Bennett during the beautiful Liebestod from Wagner's Tristan and Isolde! Badly remade as Strange Confession with Lon Chaney Jr. in 1945.

Verdict:  Another great Rains performance. ***.

No comments: