Professional Work for a Young Director
Randy Keehn | Williston, ND United States | 07/25/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I have to admit that I toyed between rating this movie a "3 star" or a "4 star" and I deferred to 3 star. I've seen too many movies over-rated and I must admit that there were times I wondered how much longer this movie would go on. I never did get any actual time on the movie but it seemed to run about 2 hours (I took time out from the DVD for dinner so I didn't have a good read on the time). I thought the movie was a bit long but, on the other hand, it seemed to me to be well put together. It is a morality play written by Noel Coward. It tells of a society lady who goes through a scandalous (by the English standards of the times) divorce. The noteriety she receives from the press causes her to leave for the south of France. There she meets a young(er?) English man and they fall in love. They return home to his parents remote rural estate. Father-in-law is impressed but mother-in-law is definitely not and she isn't afraid to let her son (as well as the rest of the world within earshot) know it. Life is tough for our lady of the "easy virtue but I won't elaborate further. The script, directing and the acting are well-done.
For the record, this is a silent movie which delivers some challenges to viewers not accustomed to these early films. I have generally appreciated the special talent that goes into making a good silent movie. The interruptions for titles need to be kept to a minimum or else we spend more time reading than watching (and that might give us ideas). In "Easy Virtue" the titles were surprizingly few yet always helpful when they appeared. The credit for this, I believe, can be shared by actors and director alike. The acting is very good in "Easy Virtue". The names are not familiar but the talent seems like it came from the English stage. Hitchcock deserves accolades for focussing on expressions of emotion that tell most of the story as we go along. There are also some uniquely Hitchcockian touches the best of which happened when the young Englishman was asking our heroine for her hand in marriage. She told him that she would think it over and call him that night with her answer. We see the scene where the young man is pacing and looking at the clock and then we see an operator putting through the call and listening in on the conversation. As the camera stays with the operator, it is through her varied emotional reactions we know just whose call it was and the exact moment she said "Yes".
I was a bit surprized at the sets. They went from the south of France to an impressive country estate to an indoor scene where mother-in-law walks into the room from a backdrop so cheaply two-dimensional that I could have probably drawn it better myself. The picture is understandably faded a bit but not enough to interfere with our viewing. All in all, a professional production that merely lacked a storyline strong enough to maintain our attention for the full time it ran. The more I write about it, however, the more I'm inclined to change my rating from 3 to 4 stars. I guess I better quit before I do."
Not exactly the play but close
bernie | Arlington, Texas | 12/12/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Actually, this 1927 Alfred Hitchcock version of Noel Coward's play is close to the book but annoying having to keep up with the screen cards. They do not look like they match the verbiage. In addition, this version is much darker than the newer film version. I suggest you read the play first.
We start with the trial and flash back to where a woman (Isabel Jeans) hides her sordid past from her new husband and family.
We learn what easy virtue really means.
A fun sideline is trying to figure out where you have seen the actors before.
Easy virtue,: A play in three acts
Easy Virtue [Blu-ray] ~ Jessica Biel"