Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Sing Sinner Sing|
Actors: Paul Lucas, Leila Hyams
Genres: Mystery & Suspense
A woman is accused of murdering her playboy husband.
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Matt B. from GETZVILLE, NY
Reviewed on 8/23/2011...
A torch singer on a floating casino anchored outside of LA is unhappily involved with the volatile owner-operator of the ship. When she busts him two-timing her with a cheap chorus girl, she impulsively decides to break it off with him by marrying a millionaire playboy. She follows the advice of her friend to land a rich guy but ignores her own intuition that marrying unwisely will land a woman in trouble deep.
Trouble comes at the bottom of the bottle. The millionaire playboy drinks not like a fish, but with the desperate energy of a man running from fear. Haunted by the fact that he comes from a family notorious for insanity among their men, he drinks to dull the anxiety of dying raving in an insane asylum. The scenes when he’s drunk are unflinching in their portrayal of a sick guy whose drinking is hopelessly out of control. Later Hollywood tended to handle drunks as the comic relief, but here the drunkenness is not played for laughs.
The casting and acting both work well. Paul Lukas plays it hot-blooded, changeable, exhausting but strong, loyal and noble to the core. Lukas’ lines aren’t good, but he salvages the part and his own dignity. Leila Hyams as the Torchy combines being easy on the eye, a delightful screen presence, and a persuasive lip-syncher as she sings songs of suffering femininity on the order of “I know he’s worthless but I know he’s mine.” Hyams taps into a quality of “feet on the ground” in her scenes with her sidekick, Ruth Donnelly, who plays the earthy hoofer with world-weary advice. Don Dillaway as doomed rich kid plays the sot easily – everybody does - but exhibits a unexpected and skillful rebellion and denunciation of snobbery in the scene where he‘s soberly arguing with his guardians on the wisdom of marrying a Torch Singer.
The sets look very fine, borrowed from a big studio by the small Majestic studio. My Bride says to mention that Leila Hyams wears some dresses with exquisite beadwork. And the jazz music is very interesting – a bridge between the do-whack-a-do jumpy stuff of the 1920s and the swing of the middle and late 1930s – too bad I can’t find who played the music.
The plot and upshot are pretty melodramatic, but it’s an admirable little movie for reasons besides the acting, sets, and soundtrack. The attraction is a curious outcome of Pre-Code Hollywood, the era between the introduction of sound and vigorous enforcement of the Hays Code, which restricted content in movies.
For instance, the sexuality is bold. The drunken playboy wheedles and needles women into going to bed with him. Showgirls are scantily clad with legs prominently displayed. When couples neck, their feet don’t stay on the floor. The atmosphere of this movie seems low and degraded. The floozies are defiantly unabashed when they are caught with erotic property not their own. The rich party like a degenerate mob, caring little what other people think of their debauchery, much less what they’re doing to their own livers. I’m not saying the driven partying doesn’t look like a lot of fun. In fact, it’s a refreshing change, seeing this candid take on ordinary life and contrasting it with the watered-down melodramatic cliches of Hollywood after 1935.