The Brontë Sisters – Hollywood Style

This was from a stinker of a movie, circa 1946.

Annex - Lupino, Ida (Devotion)_03

The Warners have simplified matters to an almost irreducible extreme and have found an explanation for the Brontës in Louisa May Alcott terms. They have visioned sombrous Emily, the author of “Wuthering Heights,” and Charlotte, the writer of “Jane Eyre,” as a couple of “little women” with a gift. And the cold, irreconcilable disagreement which developed between the two girls has been politely played down by the Warners as just a sisterly tiff over a man. The man in the case is Arthur Nicholls, who was their father’s curate all right but for whom there is no substantial evidence that Emily Brontë ever cared a fig…

Allowing that Ida Lupino plays Emily in a meek and poignant way, that Olivia de Havilland plays Charlotte with a vast deal of pretty arrogance and that Paul Henreid plays Arthur Nicholls with the air of a faithful setter dog, this would still be a mawkish costume romance, even with identities removed. Presented as the story of the Brontës—and with the secondary characters poorly played —it is a ridiculous tax upon reason and an insult to plain intelligence.

via Movie Review – Devotion – THE SCREEN; ‘Devotion,’ a Fictionized Tale of Bronte Sisters, at Strand– Horror Film at the Rialto– ‘Joe Palooka’ Victoria Bill – NYTimes.com.

6 Comments »

  1. Crowther on Bonnie and Clyde, his last film review:
    “It is a cheap piece of bald-faced slapstick comedy that treats the hideous depredations of that sleazy, moronic pair as though they were as full of fun and frolic as the jazz-age cut-ups in Thoroughly Modern Millie…”

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