SEVENTH HEAVEN ( 1937 )

FERNANDO’s CORNER ~ Posted October 9th, 2016

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A while ago, I watched the sensitive love story of Chico (Charles Farrell) and Diane (Janet Gaynor) as depicted in Borzage’s very romantic “SEVENTH HEAVEN.” Janet Gaynor delivers a beautiful, truly moving performance as the dreamy girl who falls for this “remarkable man” aptly played by Farrell. Once again I don’t agree with Leonard Maltin, because I liked Farrell’s performance…and the ending too.

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I had been wanting to see this 1937 “remake” of the famous Silent movie (directed by Henry King and starring James Stewart and Simone Simon)  because I had read lackluster reviews about it and I wanted to check myself. I do not trust reviews of any kind anymore, since the cinematic experience is just too personal and dependent on moods, tastes and certain proclivities.

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And once again I found it much better than I thought it would be. It is a sweet little film, that works because a young Jimmy Stewart, although not believable as French guy (he’s 100% American, but then, Simone Simon was almost the only true French actor in the cast) he is completely right as Chico, “a most remarkable fellow.” The naïveté and basic decency of his screen persona suits perfectly the role he plays in this film and his chemistry with cute Simone Simon as Diane, who’s all right for the role of a helpless and innocent waif, is very good. Their scenes together are believable and quite moving. The film has a great cast of international character actors, including Mady Christians, John Qualen, Jean Hersholt, Gale Sondergaard (as Diane’s evil sister), J. Edward Bromberg, etc.

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I had an excellent time watching it. Give it a chance and do not be turned by odious comparisons with the more famous 1927 Borzage good romantic drama. This little film has its own merits.

 

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