Uhm, how are you guys? I hope you had and continue having a wonderful time. I practically ate candies for breakfast, chocolates for lunch and gumdrops for dinner the past few days, so I really feel guilty right now. Oh, I almost crashed the jeep into a fence the other day with the 60% of my family in it. It seems that every time that I have to do something extra while driving, like adjusting the mirrors or move the gearstick I completely lose control of the vehicle. Anyway...
In the past few days I also saw three movies, and without knowing it, the three of them were about marriage, only with very different approaches. They were Next time we love (1936; Edward H. Griffith), Dodsworth (1936; William Wyler) and Third finger, left hand (1940; Robert Z. Leonard). This is the review of the first film, I'll publish the others in the next days, becoming my last reviews of 2010 :)
|The way things ended for both actors is more dramatic than this movie.|
Reading Leading couples, I learned that James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan worked in four movies together. I had seen and liked The Shop around the corner so I wanted to see more from them. Next time we love sounded interesting so I watched it. It's about a young married couple that has problems because their jobs keep them apart. And Ray Milland, a friend of the couple, is always around. The end.
No, seriously. The first problem with this movie is its very slow beginning. They tried to show that they were really in love, but it becomes repetitive and boring. It's like, "yeah, we get it, they are madly in love with each other!". Then, there's the script. It was written by Melville Baker (author of another average movie with great actors, Now and Forever), Ursula Parrott (story) and has an uncredited collaboration by Preston Sturges. The story didn't convince me because I felt it was kind of mechanical (their attitudes changed too abruptly) and I didn't find that their problems were really terrible. I mean, they choose to be apart: he wanted to work in Europe as a reporter and she wanted to stay in the US and become a famous actress.
I think they had more possible solutions to their problems, so all their drama about becoming two strangers, having a kid that practically doesn't know his father and Ray Milland being all supportive just because he's in love with his friend's wife, wasn't really effective. Oh, and the end. Too soppy and abrupt. According to Wikipedia (click if you want to read about Margaret's SAD personal life), even she had "strong reservations" about the story, but she had to "work off the damned contract" :)
|With Ernst Lubistch during the filming of The Shop around the corner.|
I think that it's more interesting and dramatic the info Leading Couples contains about the main actors. They met in 1931 an dated briefly. Some years later, Sullavan requested him as her leading man in Next time we love, boosting his career. Seems that James always loved Margaret, and even his wife Gloria assumed this as a fact, saying: "I always knew he was madly in love with Margaret Sullavan, and she was with him. But she was more in love with her career." The story doesn't end well at all:
Even though they were now living on different coasts, the two remained close. When Sullavan began suffering from hearing loss, Stewart, whose hearing started to decline in the late 1940s, offered his support. Just as she taught him how to act in movies years before, he tried to teach her how to act in a world of silence. It could been a moment from one of their movies --two kindred spirits brought together by the pain of life.
Margaret Sullavan died really young, on January 1, 1960, of drug overdose. She was 51.