Phillip Duggan (sparhawk2k) wrote in celluloidraving,
Phillip Duggan

Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938) ... 8.0/10


While a fun movie, I think this has been the low point of the Seattle Art Museum's series this year. Despite some wonderful elements I just don't quite thing everything quite came together like it should have with this film. Directed by Ernst Lubitsch, written by Billy Wilder (among others) and starring Claudette Colbert and Gary Cooper, this had the makings of something really great. But I think these elements really are all that really kept it afloat at times. Originally a play, it was large portions of the story and how they dealt with them that really kept me bothered throughout. I would have liked to see the play itself and see how they handled it because they weren't really big problems. Just little things that continued to nag on me to the end and kept me bothered when I just should have just been enjoying myself.

Basically, I think I agree with the other reviews I've seen that it just comes down to casting. While I'm not really a big fan of the premise of the story it could have worked with other people. Well, with a couple other stars... The supporting cast was excellent. Gary Cooper is the big problem. While he went a long way to keep the story fun and entertaining by just being himself and being enjoyable to watch he also didn't fit the character. He's supposed to be this rich jerk money-hungry millionaire but except for the occasional line thrown in to knock the point home it didn't stick. I'd just sit there wondering where those words came from because they certainly couldn't have come out of his mouth. And that undeniable likeability of Cooper caused a lot more problems than just suitability for the character. While the story dealt with a constant battle of the sexes between our two stars something went haywire with them. I couldn't help feeling sorry for Cooper more than the character deserved and I couldn't help wondering what she was doing at times. This was supposed to be a story about him being put in his place but instead they both ended up seeming more bitter and cruel than anything. Especially her... Though him flashing back and forth between violent anger and his charming self was rather disquieting at times. And with the natural charm of both characters many of their interactions just left me confused.

But when you weren't looking at that clash it was an enjoyable film. They both know comedy quite well and were given plenty of chances to show it. The scenes with the bathtub and the onions were hilarious. So were any of the scenes with the pajamas. And Edward Everett Horton and David Niven definitely kept things on their toes. While I enjoyed myself once again I won't be recommending this as a movie to run out and grab. It's fun but every single person involved probably has a better film out there if you haven't seen everything under the sun. Myself, I'll be working on tracking down Colbert's "Midnight", and Lubitsch's "Ninotchka" or "To Be Or Not To Be"� Or countless others I've had recommended�

"Have you ever had a waiter look at you with untipped eyes? And when I ask the elevator boy for the fourth floor, he says 'Yes, Madame' and takes a detour through the basement."
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