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The Crash

The Crash(1932)

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  • The Crash

    • SImon Rushton
    • 4/6/11

    Pre-Hays Code films continue to surprise and delight with their mature and downright honest depiction of relationships. The treatment of the frailty and shortcomings of married partners (admittedly the stinking rich where infidelity can be explored at one remove and is par for the course) and their romantic entanglements is refreshingly frank. Affairs are tolerated and freely admitted to and the erring partners are not unduly punished but do go through a redemption nevertheless. The exchange between Ronnie Sanderson and Geoffrey Gault over who will claim Linda's love and loyalty is a wonderful set piece of restraint and decency. Ronnie simply pulls out his cigarette case and offers Geoff a smoke, they square up to each other and, in the most articulate fashion, agree to differ. Similarly when Ronnie confronts Linda over her pursuit of him the exchange ends with him not minding whether she loves him or not, he'll simply do anything to get her, he 'loves her so'. The camera tracks in in the most beautifully executed dolly shot right into an extreme close up of Ronnie as Linda buries her head on his shoulder and submits. In fact, the framing of shots throughout the film is impressive. Fair's smuggling of Linda's letters into his drawer while fumbling for the gun in his pocket is another example of quite risk taking camera work. The scene in the garden at Mrs Hazeltine's hotel is beautifully lit and the flirtatious exchange between Linda and Ronnie is so subtley written and performed it never gives you quite what you expect but delights at every turn, especially Chatterton's delivery of the line '...and women are so helpless.' Paul Cavanagh has the most wonderfully slightly husky voice and his diction is pure balm for the ears. But the thing that really entrances me about this film, like so many early Warners, is the incidental music. W Frank Harling's melodies and presumably Leo Forbstein's orchestrations are simply beautiful. How I wish the music tracks still existed!

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