Monday, April 22, 2013

Connie Goes to Court

Two Against the World (1932), on the service, appears to be your typical, 1930's romantic comedy - wealthy Adelle Hamilton (Constance Bennett) is on her way to a meeting.  She is late, and rude to the man (David Norton, played by Neil Hamilton) she believes to be an elevator operator.  Of course, he is not.  He is a lawyer, on the way to the same meeting.  He is the lawyer for the widow of a woman killed while working for Adell's family.  Adell and her brother Bob (Allen Vincent) cannot be bothered participating in the family discussion - they play tic-tac-toe.  The family seems not worth our time - there is also a philandering sister (Helen Vinson).  All-in-all, not exactly an admirable group.

Only this film is not a simple rom-com.  Things turn dark when the members of the family are involved in a murder, and Adell takes responsibility for the events.  We won't go into too much detail, here, but the film turns quite dark about mid-point.  The film asks us to sympathize with the murderer rather than the victim (Pre-Code, of course);   the murder is even staged in such a way as to minimize your interest in the victim. In the clip below, we see a scene as the intensity increases:


Let's spend a moment discussing the costuming by Orry-Kelly.  It is fantastic.  At one point, Ms. Bennett is wearing a raincoat that any one of us would have worn in a minute.  Also, a black dress that was to-die-for.  And Ms. Bennett, always lovely, wears them well.  You can get an idea from the clip, but better is to come in the film.

The film is a tad disjointed, but it is worth a look.  Certainly, it is never a hardship to watch Ms. Bennett.  She takes even the most mediocre script and makes it shiny.