Wednesday, January 9, 2013
THE ROYAL FAMILY OF BROADWAY
The film mocks the Barrymore family. It's about a woman from a talented family named Julie Cavendish (Who's a mockery of the star Ethel Barrymore, played by Ina Claire) who plans on retiring from acting and settling down with her love interest Gilmore Marshal(Frank Conroy). Her mother Fanny(Henrietta Crosman)is continuing her acting career no matter how hard it is for a women her age, Her crazy brother Tony(A mockery of John Barrymore,played by Fredric March) is fleeing from Hollywood due to a breach of promise and her daughter Gwen (Mary Brain) is thinking of settling down and marrying someone too.
Ina Claire does a fine job at playing the mockery character of Ethel Barrymore(Which by the way, the character offended Ethel so much that she threatened a lawsuit). She plays her classy while at the same time mocking Ethel's classiness. I also love the scenes where she brakes down into a prima donna Broadway star. My favorite moment with her in the whole movie is when she finally gets everything but I won't spoil her feelings about it for you.
Henrietta Crosman as the mother of the family is funny as well. Sure she acts classy most of the time but whenever she's stressed or being over dramatic, she can provide a laugh. I also find her very sympathetic because she's an old lady who's stressfully trying to carry on acting even if in sickness. I guess the idea is funny and is meant to be funny, but I can't help but feel bad for her, epically in the final scene.
The person who steals the movie is Fredric March as Tony. Every scene he's in, he's over the top, he's full of energy and he himself seems to be loving every minute of it. I love his over the top entrances and exits, how the character performs in front of his family and I even love his over dramatic moments. The moment that always makes me laugh is when he tells his family to watch him take a bath and while he's bathing he's giving a good back story on what happened to him in Hollywood.Fredric March originally played Tony in the Los Angeles stage production(Which would explain why he fits the role for this movie) and he was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in the film.
As for the rest of the characters, they're good too. Mary Brain as Gwen is always over dramatic and perhaps is more of a prima donna then her Mother Julie. They're manager Oscar is also fun to watch and he too is a fun character. I guess my only down side in characters are the love interests cause they're really not all that amusing nor do I feel like that there's enough screen time for them, but then again the films more focused on the family.
As much as I praise the characters I do have some huge criticism on the film. The film is directed by two directors and instead of making this film look like a film, it feels more like a stage performance being filmed. There's no interesting visuals or techniques, it's just all acting, I wouldn't mind it so much but this film isn't treated like a film. As a result everything in the film just looks bland. The biggest problem I have with the film is to a modern audience it's very dated. Not dated as in the time the film was made, it's dated as in the humor. The humor is mostly centered around mocking the Barrymore family and if you don't know anything about them, the humor doesn't work. The only person you can really get a laugh from is Fredric March, the rest of the characters will probably bore you and I'll admit while finding the characters funny, I don't find them that amusing as much, at least to a modern audience.
The film is dated and for the most part will bore you epically if you don't know anything about the Barrymore family. For the time, it probably got a lot of laughs but now it's just looked at as a boring flick and the only person who saves the boringness of the film is Fredric March. However, for those who are obsessed with Broadway history and perhaps know who the Barrymore family is, you'll probably get a big laugh out of this films mockery on the Barrymores.