Sunday, June 08, 2008

Tonight's Movie: Forsaking All Others (1934)

FORSAKING ALL OTHERS presents a comedic love triangle loaded with MGM '30s star power.

Dill (Robert Montgomery) and Mary (Joan Crawford) have loved each other since childhood, but on the eve of their wedding Dill is enticed to elope with Connie (Frances Drake). Dill and Mary's close friend Jeff (Clark Gable) has also always loved Mary. Will Dill's unexpected marriage leave the path clear for Jeff to court Mary...or will Dill drop Connie and claim Mary after all?

It sounds like a tearjerking melodrama, but the film is played for laughs, and it's good fun. Gable, in particular, oozes charisma; this film was released the same year as his Oscar-winning role in IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT. This is one of Montgomery's sillier performances, but he dives in with glee and is especially amusing when he takes over running a hamburger stand.

I've never been much of a Crawford fan, but I've found her softer performances in films such as this or THE LAST OF MRS. CHEYNEY much more appealing than her harder-edged roles of the '40s and '50s. Crawford, incidentally, appeared onscreen many times over the years with both Gable and Montgomery.

Charles Butterworth contributes a very amusing performance as Gable's friend. Billie Burke and Rosalind Russell are also on hand to add to the merriment. It's hard to go wrong with a cast like this one. It's an enjoyable 83 minutes.

The movie was directed by W.S. Van Dyke, whose best-known film might be THE THIN MAN, released the same year as FORSAKING ALL OTHERS. Van Dyke also directed Robert Montgomery in 1934's HIDE-OUT, a tender, charming romance costarring Maureen O'Sullivan.

FORSAKING ALL OTHERS can be seen on video as well as on cable on Turner Classic Movies.

March 2009 Update: FORSAKING ALL OTHERS is now available on DVD via the new Warner Archive online store.

March 2018 Update: My review of the DVD is here.


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