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1935 was not a great year for Busby Berkeley. The notoriously mercurial director was being sued for divorce (again), was deep in the throes of the heavy drinking that would bedevil him for years, and, worst of all, was the driver in a car accident where five people (including himself) were injured and two people died, putting him on trial for second degree murder. In spite of it all he managed to direct I Live for Love (1935), the story of two performers (Dolores Del Rio and Metropolitan Opera baritone Everett Marshall) and their love-hate relationship that turns to love. Del Rio and Berkeley had worked together before (most notably in Bird of Paradise (1932), where the scandal generated by her on-screen nude swim with co-star Joel McCrea almost overshadowed the dance sequences). Berkeley respected Del Rio and spared the Mexican-born star the indignity of "spicy senorita" characterizations--in this movie she's ladylike and poised, with crisp Continental elocution. Unfortunately, Marshall's overpowering baritone dominates all their scenes together. This was Del Rio's last time working with Berkeley, but she remained steadfast in her admiration, describing her "genius" director as "strong, dark, concentrated" - words that could describe herself.
By Violet LeVoit