Sunday, January 16, 2022

Tonight's Movie: Golden Earrings (1947) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

GOLDEN EARRINGS (1947), starring Ray Milland and Marlene Dietrich, has just been released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber.

GOLDEN EARRINGS is an unusual World War II era adventure film directed by Mitchell Leisen. Leisen, whom I've come to really appreciate due to his consistently entertaining films, worked with Milland numerous times over the years, including on ARISE, MY LOVE (1940), a Kino Lorber release I reviewed just a few weeks ago.

As GOLDEN EARRINGS begins, it's a foggy night in London in 1946, and a group of men at a club are gossiping about one of their members, Colonel Ralph Denistoun (Milland). Why, they wonder, does he have pierced ears?

The discussion is timely as just at that moment a small package containing golden earrings arrives for the colonel, who immediately books the next flight to Paris.

On the plane the colonel tells an American (Quentin Reynolds) who he had met at the club the long, strange story of how he came to have pierced transpires he was on a secret mission in Germany before England entered the war. The mission went awry and he and his colleague (Bruce Lester) were captured. They managed to escape and then split up, at which point the colonel happened to meet a Gypsy woman, Liddie (Dietrich).

Liddie, whom the colonel dubs Lydia, believes that the colonel is fated to be her man and sets about to help him escape through the countryside so that he can complete his mission.

It's a very different film, blending suspense, comedy, and even a touch of fantasy, but I found it quite engaging. I've always been a fan of Milland's, and I've come to really enjoy Dietrich, thanks in large part to seeing so many of her films on Kino Lorber Blu-rays. I felt they were a well-matched team as the colonel and the gypsy.

This is a really different role for Dietrich in dark makeup as the gypsy, but her character, who seems strange at first, proves to be quite admirable. She's incredibly loyal, a quick thinker, and finds joy in life despite the stresses of Nazis constantly hovering in the background. (Indeed, it adds an air of poignancy to a generally upbeat film knowing that many real gypsies were killed by the Nazis during the war.)

Milland's character begins as a bit of a stuffed shirt, but one of the men in the club notes that something happened due to wartime experiences which caused him to loosen up. That, of course, was his time with Lydia, where he experiences unexpected happiness despite the constant risk.

I really liked the framing of the story, which lets the audience know from the outset that, despite the ongoing suspense, Colonel Denistoun will survive; the opening also hints at the possibility of a happy ending to come. Given that the film goes to some pretty dark places, albeit fairly briefly, the structure of the script was most welcome.

The dark moments are also balanced out by quite a bit of humor, between some of Liddie's behavior and the colonel's surprised reactions.

A side note: Given the lapse of time between the colonel's time with Liddie and 1946, wouldn't the holes in his ears have closed up?

The screenplay of this 95-minute film was by Frank Butler, Abraham Polonsky, and Helen Deutsch, based on a novel by Yolanda Foldes. The black and white cinematography was by Daniel L. Fapp.

Murvyn Vye, who played Jigger in the original Broadway cast of CAROUSEL (1945), made his film debut as Liddie's ex-brother-in-law. It's a good part, as he and the colonel begin as enemies and part as blood brothers; he also sings the title song by Victor Young, Jay Livingston, and Ray Evans.

Watch closely for John Dehner in a fairly early role as a Nazi officer. The cast also includes Dennis Hoey, Ivan Triesault, and Reinhold Schunzel.

An interesting note: the movie begins with the Universal Pictures '40s logo, and at the end it concludes with the Paramount Pictures logo.

The Kino Lorber Blu-ray, as is typical for this line, is an excellent print with a strong soundtrack.

Blu-ray extras consist of the trailer; a gallery of eight additional trailers for films available from Kino Lorber; and a commentary track by David Del Valle.

I had no idea what to expect from GOLDEN EARRINGS and am pleased to say I found it quite entertaining. It's a film I'll happily return to in the future for a repeat visit.

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.


Blogger Caftan Woman said...

I've always loved the theme song but haven't seen the movie. I am so intrigued by your review that the song will be in my head along with the desire to catch up with the film.

6:46 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'd love to know your thoughts on it -- it's very different but I suspect you might enjoy it also.

Best wishes,

9:02 AM  
Blogger Gabi said...

This has been a favorite of mine for years, mainly due to Ray Milland. It's charming, delightful and a change of pace for Ms. Dietrich. Thanks for your insightful and thorough review. I'd also recommend The Green Glove with Glenn Ford. More serious but equally enjoyable.

2:57 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older