Friday, June 22, 2018

Tonight's Movie: A Notorious Affair (1930) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

My latest Kay Francis viewing was A NOTORIOUS AFFAIR (1930), recently released on DVD by the Warner Archive.

Kay steals every scene she's in as a man-eating vamp, Countess Olga Balakireff. She's obsessed with chasing after men, and she's not picky, romping with the stable boy and other servants before setting her sights on a newly famous violinist, Paul Gherardi (Basil Rathbone).

The spineless, emotional Paul falls for Olga and is unfaithful to his wife Patricia (Billie Dove), who was disowned by her wealthy father (Montagu Love) for marrying an untitled nobody. The long-suffering Patricia meanwhile reconnects with a former suitor, Dr. Allen Pomeroy (Allen Thomson, recently seen by me in THE FAMOUS FERGUSON CASE), who is called in to attend to her unstable husband.

Rathbone is simply annoying as a whiny man who doesn't appreciate his fine career and beautiful wife. There is no hint here of the sophisticated type of villain he would be playing just a few years later in films such as THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938) or THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940). It's rather difficult to imagine how this unhappy fellow ever swept beautiful Patricia off her feet, to the extent she would leave behind family and fortune in order to be with him.

This isn't a particularly scintillating film, being on the creaky side, but every time it seemed ready to slow down to a crawl Francis would reappear to wake things up. It also must be said that Dove is lovely as the heroine of this melodrama, the type of role Francis would so often play in later films. And on the plus side, the movie wraps up in just 69 minutes. In the end it was worth a look, though not one of the more memorable films I'll see this year.

Look for future cowboy star Bill Elliott as a party guest early in the film.

A NOTORIOUS AFFAIR was directed by Lloyd Bacon and photographed by Ernest Haller.

The print of this 1930 film is soft but otherwise acceptable, with a fairly strong soundtrack. There are no extras.

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.


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