ABOUT THE CALENDAR
Film - Feature | July 5 | 7 p.m. | PFA Theater, 2575 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, Ca 94720
Walsh followed the freewheeling Me and My Gal with this more tightly structured but no less rambunctious comedy, a study in controlled chaos in which an improvisatory tone masks a careful development of the central romantic relationship and a shrewdly calibrated use of deep-focus space. The film carries over several character actors from the previous filmincluding broken-nosed Frank Moran repeating his role as a man of the sea with surprising intellectual inclinationsand places them in support of James Dunn and Sally Eilers, whose teaming in Frank Borzages Oscar-winning Bad Girl (1931) had established them as Foxs leading star couple (a down-to-earth, Depression-era sequel to the other worldly couple formed by Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell). Hes a sailor on shore leave in a Southern California port; shes an unemployed beauty whose figure immediately gets her a job as a swimming pool lifeguard, even though she cant swim. Their physical attraction is immediate and mutual (was any filmmaker ever less coy about sex?), but before they can become a couple they must overcome a number of comic misunderstandings and scrapes, most of them engineered by Eilerss oily, predatory landlord (Victor Jory), who wants her for himself. Bertrand Tavernier and Jean-Pierre Coursodon are being rather prudish in Fifty Years of American Cinema when they complain of painful gags that take minorities as their target and manage to offend them all, from Italians to Jews passing through homosexuals. Rather, the humor is rich in the kind of broad ethnic stereotyping that was a staple of American vaudeville (and Walshs youth), and which historically offered an effective way to vent and defuse ethnic tensions in immigrant America. (Suggestively, the only real villain in the film, Jorys Baron Potrillo, hides behind a made-up ethnicity and a phony aristocratic title.) The film climaxes with a fight scene in a dance hall scarcely less epic than the battle sequences in What Price Glory, and just as superbly rendered in terms of colliding waves of force.
$5.50 BAM/PFA Member; Cal Student, $6.50 Cal Faculty and Staff; Disabled Patron; Non Cal Student; Senior Patron ( 65 & Older); General Admission Youth (17 & under), $9.50 General Admission
Buy tickets online, or by calling 510-642-0808.
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