Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Craig's Wife (Dorothy Arzner, 1936) B+

Fascinating film about a woman (Rosalind Russell) so cold and obsessed with her home that over the course of 24 hours she manages to drive out her entire family and all of the servants. The most interesting thing about Craig's Wife is the fact that neither Russell nor Arzner tried to tone down Harriet's coldness or make her more likable: a brave choice indeed since this was one of Columbia's "tent pole" pictures of 1936 and supposed to appeal as many people as possible. Russell was a bit stiff in her early scenes, but she got in to the role as soon she got back to the house. I was most impressed by the way she uses her impeccable comedic timing for this drama. That look she gave when she noticed that the vase of roses was on her piano was nearly as frightening as Faye Dunaway's look when she first notices the wire hangers in the closet.

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