Friday, February 15, 2008

Tonight's Movie: The Secret Bride (1934)

I started watching THE SECRET BRIDE on Valentine's Day; the title seemed appropriate! Although it has a very short run time of just over an hour, I had to wait and watch the second half this evening.

As the movie opens, a state attorney general (Warren William) and the governor's daughter (Barbara Stanwyck) have celebrated a quiet courthouse wedding. Before they can spring the news on her father, the governor is framed for taking a bribe. As the case escalates to include a suicide and then murder, the couple decide to keep their wedding a secret while the attorney general works to clear his new father-in-law.

This is a lightning-paced movie which is quite entertaining. There's nothing especially notable about the film, but it features a seasoned cast of professionals who all do their jobs well. The excellent cast includes Glenda Farrell, Henry O'Neill, Arthur Byron, Grant Mitchell, and Douglass Dumbrille. The movie was directed by William Dieterle.

Stanwyck's costumes are by Orry-Kelly. I found the furs she wore for much of the film -- complete with heads and paws! -- distracting; they looked rather creepy! Sensibilities have certainly changed in that regard since the '30s. That "time capsule" aspect of films is one of the things that makes movies so interesting.

THE SECRET BRIDE can be seen on Turner Classic Movies. It doesn't appear to have had a video or DVD release.

The trailer is here.

Update: This film is now available from the Warner Archive.


Blogger jau said...

One of my favorites! I'm glad you got to see it. I adore William Warren. Isn't he the best?!

My aunt, born in 1904 and part of NYC's intense cultural life, used to take me to the opera and the ballet when I was a very young girl. We would ride the NYC subways, dressed to the teeth, en route to the magical extravaganzas. And she always wore her fox stole. It was basically a gutted fox and scared me to death. I vividly remember sitting beside her, mesmerized by the intense dark glass eyes on one shoulder and the tail on the other. It very soft and utterly entrancing. Also appalling and terrifying. As you say, times and sensibilities were very dfferent.

By the way, guess what she left me when she died, with a note about how much she enjoyed our evenings. Indeed, our evenings were a very important part of my life but the stole was too creepy, although I tried to keep it for a couple of days. In the end I gave it to a theater costume company. Someone will look very authentic.

Thanks for allowing me this reminiscence, Laura.


12:13 AM  
Blogger Irene said...

Anne's story is wonderful.

I also have a fox stole with head, eyes and mouth that clamps the tail to keep it on. I have worn it for costume occasions but right at the moment I am not sure where it is. The stole belonged to my mother.

Also, no message rejects :)

10:35 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Anne, that's an absolutely wonderful story about your aunt! Thanks so much for sharing it.

Irene, I also started getting the moderation emails again so it looks like the comments glitch has resolved, hooray! Thanks for helping out with that.

Best wishes,

11:28 AM  

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