Friday, June 06, 2008

Tonight's Movie: Lovers Courageous (1932)

Can a rich girl find happiness with a poor playwright? That's the question posed in LOVERS COURAGEOUS, a somewhat creaky but ultimately satisfying romance filmed in 1932.

Robert Montgomery is the aspiring writer, and Madge Evans plays the girl he loves. The screenplay by Frederick Lonsdale (THE LAST OF MRS. CHENEY) feels rather stagy and episodic, especially in the film's first half, but as the story goes on it picks up steam and steadily becomes more engrossing.

Montgomery and Evans are touching as the young couple who cast aside British societal conventions in order to be together. Evans' character, an admiral's daughter, is engaged to marry a much older member of the peerage, played by Reginald Owen -- it was a bit disconcerting realizing she was supposed to marry "Admiral Boom"! -- but the moment Owen attempts to kiss Evans, she realizes her life choices very clearly and finds the courage to follow her heart. Montgomery is particularly good in a subdued performance as Evans' devoted love.

Montgomery and Evans made four other films together: HELL BELOW (1933), MADE ON BROADWAY (1933), FUGITIVE LOVERS (1934), and PICCADILLY JIM (1936). Evans was married to the playwright Sidney Kingsley, author of DEAD END and DETECTIVE STORY.

Roland Young is most enjoyable as the admiral's aide, who offers wry commentary on the romantic drama. The cast also includes Frederick Kerr and Evelyn Hall as Evans' parents, with Halliwell Hobbs and Beryl Mercer as Montgomery's parents. Alan Mowbray is a theatrical producer who at one point shares a rather interesting exchange of pre-Code dialogue with Montgomery.

LOVERS COURAGEOUS runs 77 minutes. It was directed by Robert Z. Leonard.

This film is not available on video or DVD -- there are those of us who would love a Robert Montgomery pre-Code set! -- but it can be seen on cable on Turner Classic Movies.

LOVERS COURAGEOUS may not be a great film, but it rewards the patient viewer with good performances in a heartfelt romance.

June 24, 2009 Update: I watched this film again tonight, just about a year after seeing it for the first time. It improves with further acquaintance...this really is a lovely film.

2012 Update: This film is now available on DVD-R in the Warner Archive's Robert Montgomery Collection.


Blogger gretchen9449 said...

That is a great idea - a Robert Montgomery precode set. There would have to be A LOT of movies in that!!!

2:14 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older