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Saturday, August 7, 2010

WINGS OF THE MORNING (1937)



Annabella is the gypsy girl who falls for Henry Fonda in this piffling romance laid amongst the horsey set in Ireland. If it sounds colorful, it was meant to. This was Britain’s first TechniColor feature. So, it’s a shame that KINO’s DVD release is made from a merely serviceable print that only dimly shows off the pastel charms of the early three-strip process. (TechniColor groupies take note: the ubiquitous Ray Rennahan was cinematographer, but Jack Cardiff was the camera operator.) The film is stuffed with green meadows, colorful Romany costumes, horse racing, balls and even Irish tenor John McCormick (he gets three numbers, but we cut away from two of them). Yet, the only thing that holds much interest is the sight of Annabella fetchingly styled & dressed as a boy. (Don’t ask.) She’s always lovely, but bewitching as a young fella. (She can pass, too. Looks a bit like David Bowie. What gives her away is the French accent!) And does anyone know why Hank Fonda made so many of these early TechniColor pics? Six from 1936 to 1940. No other male star came close to that figure.

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