For Reel

Goodbye Again (1933)
March 28, 2014, 1:55 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Michael Curtiz
3 Stars
Goodbye AgainThis proto-screwball comedy stars two of the most indispensable stars of the 1930s: Warren William and Joan Blondell. Often dubbed “King of the Pre-Code”, William is endlessly debonaire and slick–a lovable asshole who shamelessly gives into every pleasure, while Blondell has a world-weary edge and fiery determination that leads to her often sparring with and out-witting her male co-stars. William stars as Ken Bixby, a successful romance novelist who is pursued by a now-married old flame (the delightful Genevieve Tobin) who believes she was the inspiration for many of his stories. While Bixby hardly remembers the girl, he’s more than eager to participate in the affair that transpires, much to the chagrin of his secretary (Blondell). William is sillier than one is accustomed to seeing him–it’s an absurd comedic performance, one that culminates with him childishly teasing his own suicide just to earn Blondell’s affection. That doesn’t take away from the picture’s sexiness, however, with the love-struck Tobin pawing at him by firelight in one particularly unambiguous scene. This is Blondell’s movie, though, who lays the sass on thick and comes off as simply too strong to be merely jealous that her boss is engaging in an affair with another woman. More than anything, she seems angry that the dope doesn’t understand that all he wants is right in front of him. Although the picture is not without its pleasures, however, it runs out of steam in the final act, which somehow manages to get less funny just as things gets more absurd.

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