For Reel

The Crash (1932)
July 3, 2015, 2:28 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: William Dieterle
2.5 Stars
The CrashThe title of The Crash doesn’t refer only to the economic realities of Black Tuesday, but also the destruction of a relationship and even of a way of life. Linda and Geoffrey Gault (Ruth Chatterton and George Brent), a pair of frivolous socialites, are devastated by the failed stock market. When the luxuries they’ve lived with are taken away, the real wounds of their relationship come to the foreground–she’s a philanderer, and he knows full well of her ways but only sees the economic potential of her sleeping around. They’re despicable, confused people. It might be a flaw that Linda is wrought as a heartless elitist in one moment and a deeply burdened woman in the next, but it also seems to capture a certain reality about people who have avoided self-reflection. Chatterton is up to the task and, better yet, is photographed well by Ernest Haller in a series of gorgeous gowns by Orry-Kelly. But Brent is as bad as it gets, so stiff that Chatterton might as well be playing alongside a cardboard cutout. In one scene in particular it appears as though he is meant to be intoxicated, and watching Brent fail to fight his natural impulse to stand still with arms at his side is something to behold.

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