FERNANDO’s CORNER: Posted on February 14th, 2015
I have just watched the RKO Radio 1932 release “Rockabye” directed by George Cukor, a primarily amusing sophisticated comedy-drama starring the wonderful Constance Bennett, as a stage actress who rose from poverty and, with the help of her manager, ably impersonated by Paul Lukas, who is in love with her, has turned her into a sophisticated and famous actress. Underneath all the glamour is basically a good and simple woman; a “roughneck” as she calls herself.
The film contains a splendid performance and is quite absorbing and well acted, but in spite of Ms. Bennett’s charms and talent, towards the end it turns quite melodramatic. The ending is perhaps not satisfactory, but considering the time when it was filmed it is perhaps plausible.
Joel McCrea is Bennett’s love interest; a playwright and an agreeable, on-the-level guy, and one can appreciate that he and Bennett had a lot of chemistry ( both actors had an affair around that time ). The scenes in which they fool around and share some intimate moments are very well achieved and ring true all the way.
The child who plays the little girl whom Bennett’s tries to adopt is very effective in her pivotal role. It’s not clear, but one tends to believe that she is Bennett’s character’s real daughter, whom she had to give away and then tried to adopt, due to the fact that she had her out of wedlock. Walter Pidgeon’s character, the child’s father ( a shady public officer ) was married, thus this situation could have ruined both their careers. One only has to think of what happened with Gable-Loretta Young & their child Judy Lewis in 1935-36 to realize how truthful this situation was back then. The movie has definitely Pre-Code aspects. Good flick and very worthwhile. The dialogue is very good.
( CineMaven’s Note: I enjoyed the film as well, and Jobyna Howland totally caught my eye. I read a little about her over at IMDB, or you can check it out here. Why is character actor Olin Howland here? He’s her little brother. Below is a five-minute scene from the movie, and cross Constance Bennett and your own risk ).
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