For Reel

Her Majesty, Love (1931)
May 27, 2016, 9:04 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: William Dieterle
3.5 Stars
Her Majesty, LoveFor being a largely forgotten, disposable programmer, Her Majesty, Love is full of interesting trivia facts. It was W.C. Fields’ first sound film, the second American film for director William Dieterle, and the final film of Broadway legend Marilyn Miller of the Ziegfield Follies. The plot—so simple it barely registers—involves the typical drama between lovers of different social classes, although to the film’s detriment it is never particularly humorous in its delivery, nor do the stars show the sparkling chemistry needed to sustain the tension. Regardless, it is graced with a sometimes exhilarating visual style, with the opening scene involving a camera winding through a speakeasy, matching the drunken excess with visual energy. Favoring high contrast lighting, cinematographer Robert Kurrle makes the silvers and whites glow all the more, intensifying the elegance of the fashion. Just as important to the visual style are the cuts by editor Ralph Dawson—in a remarkable jump cut, Dawson transitions from papers being scattered on a desk to pigeons taking off in Venice. If Her Majesty, Love plays as routine in its plotting, these flashes of visual sophistication place it above many other genre films of the time.

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