Downstairs ( 1932 )

FERNANDO’s CORNER:   Posted on December 23rd, 2015

 DOWNSTAIRS ( I )

 

I revisited John Gilbert‘s best talkie and one of his greatest films Downstairs ( 1932 ), in which he was not afraid of demolishing – in a way – the “great lover” myth, playing a no-good, amoral, selfish schemer, who uses his looks and charm in order to lure women to their doom. He blackmails and uses them for his convenience. This film would make a great double bill with Red Headed Woman, because Karl the chauffeur is the masculine counter-part of Harlow’s tart; and in fact, both pictures’ absolutely Pre-Code endings are similar.

DOWNSTAIRS ( V )  DOWNSTAIRS ( III )

DOWNSTAIRS ( IV )

I was again completely blown away by the adult nature of the film and by how fresh the story is, so un-clichéd, I was also blown away by the fabulous performances of John Gilbert and Paul Lukasparticularly Gilbert’s courage for having tackled such an un-pleasant role. Lukas plays perfectly, sans mustache, a decent, bashful, good natured man, so unlike the debonair and sophisticated characters at which he excelled during the 1930s. EXCELLENT 10/10. One of the best Pre-Codes ever.

The film also includes: Virginia Bruce, Olga BaclanovaReginald Owen and Hedda Hop-per.

Here is an excerpt:

 

( H O M E )

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