Monday, April 13, 2009

The Good Fairy (William Wyler, 1935)

***
USA



Sweet-faced, faintly tomboyish Margaret Sullavan is released from her orphanage to become an usher in a movie theatre. In due course she inadvertently seduces the Wizard of Oz, while falling in love with an even-smarmier-than-usual Herbert Marshall. The misunderstandings that ensue are naturally zany, and also a tad shrill and monotonous. The action takes place in 'Budapest', so that people can wreak havoc with surnames like Ginglebusher and Sporum and Schlapkohl.

A young Preston Sturges wrote the script, which seems laboured in the same way as his late-period misfires, but in a similar fashion also features some singular highlights: early on, an uncanny overwrought-movie-within-a-movie parody clearly signals the kind of brilliant lunatic that could later come up with a Sullivan's Travels or a Lady Eve.

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