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

Thursday, March 8, 2018


Kay Francis and George Brent
THE KEYHOLE (1933). Director: Michael Curtiz.

"The next time you try to kill yourself, let me know -- I'd love to help you!" -- Anne about Maurice.

Anne (Kay Francis of In Name Only) is married to the much-older Schuyler Brooks (Henry Kolker of Meet the Baron). When she learns from her first husband, Maurice (Monroe Owsley), that their divorce wasn't valid, he blackmails her. Anne gets advice from her sister-in-law, the formidable Portia (Helen Ware), and takes off for Cuba to get Maurice out of the country. Meanwhile Brooks, fearing Anne is unfaithful, hires private dick Neil (George Brent of Dark Victory) to follow her and see if he can tempt her into an affair. Neil's partner, Hank (Allen Jenkins), gets involved with con lady Dot (Glenda Farrell), with both thinking that the other one is wealthy. Will Anne keep putting Neil off, or will she succumb to his charms? Who cares? The Keyhole is a minor comedy-drama that never gets very dramatic and isn't especially funny. The leads are fine, but any fun in the movie is provided by Jenkins, and especially Farrell, who gives the most notable performance. Kolker and Ware are also good, but the movie is not memorable.

Verdict: Smooth but not terribly interesting. **.


angelman66 said...

I wasn't aware that Curtiz was directing so early on...I think of him chiefly as a 1940s director. People have really forgotten about Kay Francis...but she was a huge huge star in the 1930s, nominated for Best Actress almost every year...whatever became of her, I wonder?

William said...

Well, her famous quote was "I Can't Wait to Be Forgotten" -- and she was, except by film buffs and old movie fans. The quote was used as the title of a bio about her -- there have been at least two -- as well as a career study. I think she was rediscovered by the late Robert Osborne on TCM. Unlike Davis and Crawford, she never made any big movies in later life that would have introduced her to younger fans and keep her memory alive. The biographers disagree about her sexuality, with one claiming she only experimented with lesbianism and another suggesting she was bisexual. In any case, she was one "horny broad," LOL!

angelman66 said...

Very interesting!!!! I need to delve further into her career!