Monday, December 12, 2011

Carole Gets Foolish

After a bit of a pause, thanks to the holiday season, we return to our blog posts.  We are revisiting Carole Lombard, beginning with her 1938's Fools for Scandal.  In it, Ms. Lombard is Kay Winters, a movie star trying to tour Paris incognito.  She runs into Rene (Fernand Gravet), a man so broke he has to keep pawning his only two suits of clothing.  He is fascinated with her, and begins to pursue her romantically.  She finds him attractive, but is in France with her boyfriend Phillip Chester (Ralph Bellamy), and has all but promised to marry him.  Of course, hijinks ensue.

This is a VERY odd movie. For one thing, it cannot decide if it is a comedy, romance or musical.  We have Ms. Lombard and Mr. Gravet speaking the lyrics (a la Rex Harrison) of a Rogers and Hart song Fool for Scandal.  According to The Richard Rogers Reader (available on GoogleBooks) and Lorenz Hart.org, several other songs were dropped from the film.  And while the film has this song and two others, it isn't REALLY a musical (and it probably doesn't help that the leads can't sing!!)
That being said, this film is goofy and fun.  We particularly enjoyed a scene in which a newly awakened Kay is visited by all the women she knows, eager to discover if she spent the night with Rene. Lombard's sarcastic digs at the women (in particular her "friend" Lady Paula Malverton, played with some degree of bitchiness by Isabel Jeans)  Also hysterical was a scene in Ralph Bellamy does a little dance of joy.  

Lombard is, as always a joy.  Gravet, who did not have a huge career, is fine as Rene.  Ralph Bellamy is his usual (in this era) nebishy self, but still funny.  While not one of her best, this is a film that is worth a viewing, if only to see Carole attempt a song.