Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tonight's Movie: Fools for Scandal (1938)

Carole Lombard looks absolutely gorgeous in FOOLS FOR SCANDAL, but sadly that's about the most that can be said for this unfortunate film. According to the Turner Classic Movies website, Lombard herself said, "I knew it wasn't a sensation when my friends confined their comments to how beautifully I had been photographed."

One has to wonder what director Mervyn LeRoy and those involved were thinking when this film was made. It has an extremely unappealing leading man, Fernand Gravet (who was a star in France under the name Fernand Gravey), and a tiresome script which includes moments which are so bizarre they have to be seen to be believed. The most notably strange moment is when Gravet launches into song, turning the film into a musical for one scene; the song was by Rodgers and Hart, though it displays none of their usual brilliance.

Another odd scene occurs when Lombard and Gravet go to dinner and we are suddenly watching a musical number being performed in the restaurant, for absolutely no reason. The restaurant scene is so early in the movie that the detour to the musical performance inexplicably breaks up the flow of the plot.

In a nutshell, Lombard is a movie actress visiting Europe who finds herself attracted to an impoverished nobleman who can cook (Gravet). The nobleman ends up working for Lombard, much to the dismay of her longtime beau, played by -- who else? -- Ralph Bellamy. One guess as to whether Gravet or Bellamy gets the girl.

The cast includes Allen Jenkins, Isabel Jeans (Aunt Alicia in 1958's GIGI), and Marie Wilson. According to IMDb, Jane Wyman can be glimpsed as a party guest.

The movie was shot in black and white and runs 80 minutes. Lombard's beautiful gowns are by Travis Banton.

FOOLS FOR SCANDAL does not appear to have been released on VHS and has not had a DVD release. It can be seen on Turner Classic Movies, which has the trailer available here.


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