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Saturday, June 7, 2008

WE LIVE AGAIN (1934)

Sam Goldwyn’s second try to make a big star out of solid, stolid Anna Sten turned from Zola to Tolstoy for its material. Rouben Mamoulian ’s last two pics had starred Garbo (successfully) & Dietrich (un), so he was the go-to guy for screen divas. But with 20 minutes of the handsome, but short film used to show off Russian dance, music & religiosity, Tolstoy’s RESURRECTION is reduced to an outline while poor Fredric March spouts philosophical blatherings as rendered by Maxwell Anderson & Preston Sturges (!). Things are even worse for Anna’s luckless peasant who is quickly loved & left, buries her child and then gets railroaded (figuratively & literally) to Siberia. Sten’s next film was her final try for the gold ring and it might have done the trick, but by the time King Vidor ’s fascinating and much underrated THE WEDDING NIGHT got released, neither the public nor Goldwyn cared anymore.

CONTEST: Goldwyn may have given up on Ms Sten before he even released the last film he made with her, but he did remember the memorably romantic ending of THE WEDDING NIGHT. In fact, since nobody went to see it, he felt perfectly justified re-using the concept of the fadeout on WEDDING NIGHT for one of his most famous productions. Name that film and describe the cribbed scene to win our usual prize, a MAKSQUIBS Write-Up on any NetFlix DVD of your choice.

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