Now With More Than 3600 Reviews! Go Nuts - Read 'Em All!!

WELCOME! Use the search engines on this site (or your own off-site engine of choice) to gain easy access to the complete MAKSQUIBS Archive; over 3600 posts and counting. (New posts added every day or so.)

You can check on all our titles by typing the Title, Director, Actor or 'Keyword' of your choice in the Search Engine of your choice (include the phrase MAKSQUIBS) or just use the BLOGGER Search Box at the top left corner of the page.

Feel free to place comments directly on any of the film posts and to test your film knowledge with the CONTESTS scattered here & there. (Hey! No Googling allowed. They're pretty easy.)

Send E-mails to . (Let us know if the TRANSLATE WIDGET works!) Or use the Profile Page or Comments link for contact.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Poor Claudette Colbert has to navigate a dramatic U-turn in every reel of this ‘Women’s Weepie.’ First, she’s ‘expecting’ but unmarried; then, a single mom in a tenement with the similarly fixed Lyda Roberti. Blink and she’s back on her own, begging for help from the rich relatives of putative Pop David Manners. Nothing doing. So, she gives up the girl and sinks to singing the blues in lowdown joints. Spotted by club promoter Ricardo Cortez, she gets a quick costume change and hits the heights, a featured singer with a band & three swanky pianos. That’s when she backs herself into a radio gig, playing sob-sister to the kiddie set. And that’s just the half of it, dearie, blues! It’s fun to watch Colbert molt thru five looks and a passel of slinky Travis Banton outfits, even though she looks her very best when they just leave her alone. (Check out the makeup-free entrance; lighting courtesy of lenser Karl Struss, bone-structure courtesy of Mom & Dad.) Colbert sang in a few pics (THE SMILING LIEUTENANT/’32; ZAZA/’37) and easily pulls off her solos. The tremolo isn’t to modern tastes, but her phrasing & pitch are spot on. But that plot! It’s so over-cooked even levelheaded Colbert starts overacting . . . probably in self-defense.

WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: The slightly bathetic last act shows Colbert using her radio show to look for her lost girl. One lead turns up an adorable little black child. Nope, not Colbert’s. But instead of the cringe-worthy gag you’re expecting, their little scene is played out with natural ease & simple affection on both sides. Perhaps this helped Colbert get cast in John Stahl’s adaptation of Fannie Hurst’s IMITATION OF LIFE/’34. A real groundbreaker, it came out the same year Colbert made CLEOPATRA for DeMille & IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT for Capra. IMITATION took on single moms, business & race relations in a manner that makes TORCH SINGER look hopelessly contrived; and it was far more progressive for its day than Douglas Sirk’s remake of IMITATION with Lana Turner in ‘59.

No comments: