For Reel

No Other Woman (1933)
January 28, 2017, 4:34 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: J. Walter Ruben
3.5 Stars
no-other-womanIrene Dunne and Charles Bickford play an unlikely married couple who go from rags-to-riches in this RKO melodrama. If the courtroom finale drives the film to a screeching halt, the first half of the film is benefited by an unusually expressionistic tone for a picture of the type. The couple takes residence in a small house just outside of a steel mill, and as a result the domestic scenes play out with fires raging outside of the windows and the soundtrack includes ceaseless chatter in the supposedly “intimate” scenes. Similarly, the wedding scene is played as sweaty and chaotic, with Dunne being thrown around by a slew of greasy men in their work clothes. The film loses some of the sophistication in the cinematography and art direction in the latter half of the picture in which the character’s fortunes have turned, but the quality of the performances is still high. Although imposing 21st century morals on the narrative is ill-advised, the film is limited by just how abusive the relationship is between the two—Bickford is a repugnant, scheming drunk, and Dunne’s motivations in staying with him are continuously unconvincing.

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