Monday, July 18, 2011

Joan's on a Caper

We follow with another Joan Crawford movie from 1937; this time The Last of Mrs. Cheyney, with Crawford as the title character, Fay Cheyney, Robert Montgomery as Lord Arthur Dilling, and William Powell as Fay's butler Charles. Or IS Charles the butler? THAT is one of the questions in this delightful comedy.  Fay meets Arthur when she accidentally ends up in his stateroom on a trans-Atlantic trip.She becomes the darling of his social circle, finally getting a treasured invitation to the estate of Arthur's wealthy aunt, the Duchess of Ebley.  But is everything on the up and up? And WHY is Charles so familiar to Arthur?

The person who really shines in this film is the always wonderful William Powell.  It is hard to resist a film that has Mr. Powell in it.  Understated, attractive, dignified,  compassionate - he is everything one would want in a man.  And his Charles, though suspicious, is always good and kind to Kay.  Also fun to watch is Frank Morgan as Kay's suitor Lord Kelton, and Nigel Bruce as Willie, who WOULD be a suitor if he weren't married.  As with so many MGM movies, the magic is as much in the supporting cast as in the stars.

The Last of Mrs. Cheyney is based on a 1925 London and Broadway play, which starred Helen Hayes as Fay in the New York cast.  It also had 3 directors, the result of the sudden death of the listed director, Richard Boleslawski. Interestingly, the film was completed by Dorothy Arzner, the director of our last film.

Join us next time for another Crawford film. 

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