I know “Dodsworth.” You know “Dodsworth.” I know you know “Dodsworth.” You know I know “Dodsworth” and I know you know I know “Dodsworth.” So let me quit beating around the bush and tell you briefly my thoughts on “Dodsworth.”
What an excellent motion picture.
I enjoy 1936’s “Dodsworth.” William Wyler directs Walter Huston ( as Sam Dodsworth ) to a killer performance as a man who’s worked all his life…and now has to learn how to really LIVE. Dodsworth’s boyish open willingness to discover new things was engaging. Ruth Chatterton has the thankless but important role of Fran Dodsworth, and does a grand job with the challenge of playing a woman who fights against becoming old. It fits Chatterton like a glove, giving me the impression she knows this woman like a book. She doesn’t shy away from her. Fran’s a woman who wants experiences she didn’t get to have while being married…raising a child. I think what she also wanted was her husband’s permission to have flings. THAT was not going to happen. But what’s a bored housewife supposed to do? Go to museums??? Poor Dodsworth. He’s losing his wife right before his unsuspecting trusting eyes.
SPOILERS? Naaaaah. Not really. I know you know I know you know…
I liked their breakfast scene in Paris, where we really see they are going their own separate ways and living separate lives.
I liked Mary Astor and Ruth Chatterton’s “when you’re MY age”- scene. I wait for the entire movie to see Astor say her goodbyes to Chatterton, look over at Paul Lukas and tells Chatterton: “My dear. Don’t.”
I liked Huston’s tirade that his library is out of order when it’s really his life that is out of order. ( Ooooh look, there’s that cutie pie John Payne as the son-in-law ).
My heart breaks when he’s on the train and says to Chatterton how much he adores her.
Call me crazy, call me silly…but I loved Huston taking off his pants and preparing for bed. That scene seemed very mature for the post-Code 1930’s-audience. ( Don’t mind me giggling, “There’s Walter Huston in his underwear!” )
I just loved Mary Astor’s character; her beauty, maturity and love for Dodsworth. She helped him breathe and relax. She was a good companion for him. Ahhh, Mary. One of the best leading lady / character actresses to come out of Hollywood. I still think she is unsung when we talk of actresses like Davis, Stanwyck, Bergman or deHavilland.
( H O M E )