Thursday, June 7, 2007

Dodsworth (1936)

Directed by William Wyler. Starring Walter Huston, Ruth Chatterton, and Mary Astor.

This film, based on Sinclair Lewis' novel, is a bracingly mature portrait of the breakup of a marriage. Huston and Chatterton portray a rich American couple who vacation in Europe following his retirement, and as they discover European ways she grows weary of her husband and courts one European man after another. Huston gives a great performance, gruff and stalwart as a naive but caring husband who starts to implode because of his wife's infidelity and, more importantly, her disloyalty to him. But what sets this apart from so many modern films is Chatterton's performance, which isn't shrill and cartoonish, but is a three-dimensional portrayal of a woman who feels the years catching up with her, and just wants to be beautiful to someone again.

No comments: