For Reel

I Loved a Woman (1933)
April 20, 2012, 1:36 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Alfred E. Green

A third of the way into I Loved a Woman, Kay Francis looks into Edward G. Robinson’s eyes as she bids him farewell. Their love has been requited at last, however she has encouraged him to continue his business venture over pursuing their romance. “There’s nothing in it but you and your dream! That’s the way I see it! That’s the way I’ll travel to the top! […] Promise me to be ruthless! Ruthless as our love!” Ayn Rand would blush. A disaster of an attempt at a prestige picture, neither Robinson nor Francis were at all enthusiastic to be attached to the project, and Francis would later dismiss it as a complete dud. The bulk of the blame should rest on the shoulders of screenwriter Charles Kenyon, who adapted a novel by David Karsner. In every line, the characters speak their thoughts directly and often with hilarious bluntness – “I’m going to corner the Argentine grain market! […] Just to see if it can’t be done!”, says Robinson unsolicited. One gets the sense that the project was massacred in the editing room, as the eventual reunion between Robinson and Francis happens without any suggestion of its imminence. Concerning a 40+ year period, Alfred E. Green fails to establish a pace or create any sort of momentum, and as he filters through wartime stock footage and newspaper clippings, one begs for a reprieve. That it finally comes with the least graceful of final lines – “I’m sleepy.” – is quite fitting. The production values are there, and Genevieve Tobin fares well in her performance as Robinson’s bitter wife, but considering the talent attached to the picture it is astounding that they produced such a flop.