Monday, May 7, 2012

Kay Meets Edward G.

I Loved a Woman from 1933 features Edward G. Robinson as John Hayden, a would-be artist, living on his father's money in Paris, until his father's death.  He returns to America (Chicago, to be specific), and at the encouragement of the lovely Martha Lane (Genevieve Tobin), he assumes the responsibilities of running the company.  Once in business, John is no more a romantic artist, but a hard-headed, in fact cruel and dishonest, businessman.  As his marriage to Martha disintegrates (she pretty much married him for his money and power), he becomes romantically involved with Laura McDonald (Kay Francis), and the two begin a long-term affair. Meanwhile, John continues his ruthless business ways

Edward G. Robinson is quite convincing here.  He is interesting as the romantic lead, for a change, but he is also, as we all know from his gangster work during this period, perfectly comfortable playing a not-very-nice guy.  As always, Kay Francis is great.  Her Laura loves John, but this is a Pre-Code movie, so her life style is, shall we say, rather risque.  And again, being that this is a Pre-Code film, our characters get away with things that, in another year, would result in their deaths or imprisonment.  

Probably this film is more interesting as a Kay Francis film than as a venue for Robinson.  Not that he is bad, but his character is just not really as interesting as it could have been.  He is so callous in so many ways, that it is hard to sympathize with him.  But there are scenes with Francis that are fun and interesting, so it is certainly worth a look.  And just to get you started, here is the trailer: