Monday, May 28, 2018

Tonight's Movie: Stolen Holiday (1937) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Kay Francis stars in STOLEN HOLIDAY (1937), available on DVD from the Warner Archive.

I've been enjoying working my way through the Warner Archive's collection of Kay Francis films and found STOLEN HOLIDAY quite entertaining. It's an 80-minute film directed at a good pace by Michael Curtiz; it also happens to be the first of many films in which Curtiz directed Claude Rains.

Regular Francis costar Ian Hunter rounds out the cast. Hunter might not have been the most charismatic star on the Warner Bros. roster but I've always had a soft spot for him, perhaps owing a bit to his casting as King Richard in one of my very favorite movies, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938).

Kay plays Nicole Picot, a fashion model approached by Russian con man Stefan Orloff (Rains). Orloff wants Nicole to host a dinner for some financiers with him; he believes she'll help lend him "class" and believability and persuade them to back him.

Nicole doesn't realize that Stefan's business isn't legal and as his success grows, she's grateful to him for getting her started in her own fashion business -- and ultimately repays every penny.

Nicole falls in love with Anthony (Hunter), but when trouble with the law looms for Stefan and he asks Nicole to marry him, hoping that his wedding to the dazzling and popular Nicole will help deflect legal scrutiny, she feels obligated to agree.

STOLEN HOLIDAY is what might be thought of as a typical Kay Francis movie, where she suffers nobly in glorious gowns by Orry-Kelly, beautifully filmed in black and white by Sid Hickcox. Kay has a great scene early in the film where she engineers an "entrance" into a charity ball, descending a staircase with her gown flowing behind her, which is breathtaking.

Her relationship with the Rains character has an interesting dynamic, not based in love but deep friendship and trust, which sadly is ultimately broken. (The Rains part of the story was inspired by a true-life scandal.) I also liked her comfortable relationship with Hunter; their characters have fun together and the actors seem to be having a genuinely good time as well.

STOLEN HOLIDAY may not be a classic, but it succeeds in doing what it sets out to do, entertain its audience. I had a good time watching it.

The supporting cast includes Alison Skipworth, Walter Kingsford, Alexander D'Arcy, and Charles Halton.

The Warner Archive print is somewhat soft, with periodic streaks and speckles, but is otherwise smooth and watchable, with a strong soundtrack. The DVD includes the trailer.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop or from any online retailers where DVDs and Blu-rays are sold.


Blogger barrylane said...

The Claude Rains part is based on Serge Alexandre Stavisky, who sold huge quantities of useless bonds. Threatened with exposure he fled and either committed suicide or was killed by police. The socialists were accused of making corrupt deals by the Right Wingers. Edouard Daladier, the new premier used force to repress the subsequent bloody riots. It is obviously a good story and was filmed, dare I say again, by Alan Resnais in1974 with Jean Paul Belmondo, Charles Boyer, and many other fine French film actors.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Catching up on comments today -- belated thanks for sharing that background information. Interesting to hear that the Stavisky aspect of the story was filmed again.

Best wishes,

7:04 PM  

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