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I'm sure there are many women just as beautiful as Veronica Lake. I'm
sure there were, and will be, directors as gifted as Rene Clair. And
I'm sure there are Irish mischief makers as amusing as Cecil Kellaway.
And politicians as stuffy and pompous as Frederic March. But the
combination here in this wonderful fluff is without equal.
Some Hollywood ace, befuddled and benumbed on a steady diet of coke and guacamole, has decided to remake this amazing film. Perhaps we will be shown a flash of real naked witch. But it will never be as sensual as the imagined view of Lake, as she appears in a smoke-filled hotel room. Perhaps in the re-make we will be shown the two characters locked together in a passionate embrace. But it will never equal what we imagine as we see the two ascend the stairs in this wonderful original.
It's not that Hollywood is doomed to produce banality in this new century; it's just that they seem to like it. There are very few films as good as I Married A Witch and there are very few directors who can call on studios like Paramount to supply them with gifted artists and craft persons to equal this witty and wonderful confection. Why even Susan Hayward, who did well with her strident image of bitchiness, is just right here. I suspect that new generations of filmgoers will never see this lovely film, for it is now OOP - out of print. But the horror of it all is I suspect those who made the new film never bothered to screen the old one, being convinced that they had nothing to learn about the craft of cinema.
That they were wrong becomes more obvious as the distance between the old and the new is measured in financial disaster. Perhaps next they might try to remake Sous Les Toits de Paris.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Veronica Lake's fooling, charming, biting witch (released from the
trunk of a tree by a freak lightning storm, she returns to upset the
household and descendants of the man who had her burnt a few hundred
years earlier) was a role that suited her to perfection: she was a
spry, punchy little cockerel from Broolklyn breeding ground of other
feisty spirits such as Clara Bow, Barbara Stanwyck, Mae West and Susan
Hayward whose beauty hid brains, and whose brains worked fast to
seize a chance and make the most of it... She also had an explosive
temper which she unleashed on those bigger than she, in size and power,
resulting of course in the destruction of her career
But in her youth
these qualities supplied her an electric current that switched a lot of
Veronica resented being known for her long blonde hair, but fame draws on strange things to single out one person for the attention of others: with Bette Davis it was acting; with Crawford it was staring; with Hayworth it was dancing and with Lake it was her silky hair But regardless of the gimmick that drew us to her, it was the unrepeatable quality within which made a star like Veronica Lake imitated and loved not for what she may have thought she could do, but for the fact that she was there to do it at all
After reading many film books such as the Hurrell one and "The image makers"
really started to wonder about Veronica Lake. Having never seen any of her
films I really
wanted to see her in something...and to be honest to see if she was as
gorgeous as in her
photo's. Not being available in the UK my flat-mate picked me up a copy of
this on a
shopping-trip to NY.
Well-what can I say?! Veronica is more than I ever expected, BUT I really DO like the film too. I think it's funny, just the right length and the story has a certain charm and warmth to it that just leaves me smiling. Other viewers have complained about the darkness of it due to the film quality, but I find the beginning vaguely similar to Whale's Frankenstein. Okay, the start and indeed the whole film are slightly silly, but that's its naive charm. Lake has this naughty but loveable air about her that bounds around the screen - I love it and her! I'm really glad I own it, can't wait to both watch it again and see Veronica in something else...
Very well-crafted comedy with some memorable work by Veronica Lake and a charming role for Cecil Kellaway (perfectly cast in this picture). Considering some of the fluffy, forgettable comedies of this era, this one deserves a much better following than it has enjoyed so far. Well worth watching.
I love this movie! It's mystically enchanting and irresistably charming. It's probably the greatest movie which Veronica Lake ever did, and probably one of the best classics to come out of the heyday of Hollywood.As captivating as Marilyn Monroe was to become,Lake is wonderfully demure and waif-like in her appearance, and Fredric March shows great range between befuddled and charmed by lake as she enraptures him. The movie's appeal lives on in the romances of Bewitched and Dark shadows !
Pleasing comedy fantasy. There are some moments where watching Lake perform is really nice -- I love the bitchy look and how she puts her arms out when she slams the door with her magic in anger. Lake plays a witch who accidentally casts a love spell on herself, and therfore ends up domesticating herself and adopting moral attitudes her warlock father is opposed to. Fun and slightly meaningful in the Sturges mold.
This is a fairly humorous story with decent special effects, especially
considering it was made over 40 years ago. The key ingredient for
success in this film was Veronica Lake. She's known more for her
peekaboo blonde locks and for starring with Alan Ladd in several hit
movies, but Lake was a good comedienne, too.
Susan Hayward does well playing a snotty woman and Cecil Kellaway always plays an interesting character. Frederic March plays opposite Lake and I wish I hadn't read Lake's biography in which she explains how much she hated March. In made the love scenes lose a lot of impact when I learned how "forced" those scenes were.
Oh, well. It's still a nice, lightweight comedy, nothing special but entertaining for the most part.....but it helps to be a fan of Veronica Lake, which I am.
Veronica Lake and Cecil Kellaway seem to get into the spirit of this
whimsical comedy about witchcraft--while Fredric March (who reportedly
disliked working with Lake whom he considered an inferior actress) does not
come off well in comedy. Lake plays a witch whose ancestors burned her at
the stake 300 years ago. March is engaged to Susan Hayward, but with the
entry of Lake into his life, everything goes haywire. March is a
gubernatorial candidate whose election to office is threatened by Lake's
dexterity with broomstick magic.
Based on an unfinished novel by Thorne Smith (creator of "Topper"), the film emerges as a screwball romantic comedy well directed by Rene Clair and benefits from some good trick photography. The video print I have is on the murky side--I'm sure the original print featured better overall photography than the video version. With a cast that includes Robert Benchley among the supporting players, this is a comedy treat ideal for viewing on Halloween.
Warning: More enjoyable if the print quality is good!
Utterly entrancing comic fantasy with a captivating Veronica Lake.
The film is a light as air concoction directed by Rene Clair at breakneck speed which suits the material perfectly. The brief running time doesn't allow for any superfluous characters or dialogue and the film is cast with performers that make every second on screen count.
Robert Benchley is a scream as March's increasingly befuddled best friend while Elizabeth Patterson shows up doing the flustered housekeeper that she did so well. The only other two parts aside from the leads of any importance are filled by Cecil Kellaway as Veronica's father, a basically cruel character who he makes seem more impish than mean by the jaunty air he brings to the part. Then there's Susan Hayward, in a role that really moved her forward and one that she attacks with great relish, the beauty who would be a prize where she not a total shrew.
While all those players are excellent the two who make the picture great are the leads. They are a beguiling pair seemingly completely swept away with their adoration of each other. Their chemistry is delightful which is extraordinary since behind the scenes they openly loathed each other. Veronica was a complicated woman burdened with extreme psychological problems which led her to have a prickly personality and causing her to often have conflicts with both actors and crews. However in this case she was probably justified. March although a great actor was a notorious hot pants putting the make on anything that moved, when she rebuffed him he spent the remainder of the film treating her like dirt under his talented feet. She struck back by various methods probably the best being placing weights under her dress during a scene where he had to carry her repeatedly. Be that as it may both were too professional to allow their animosity to show on screen.
This is probably the best showcase Veronica ever had, This Gun for Hire is a close second, she is at all times seductive, alluring, humorous and seems to carry a gossamer glow with her wherever she goes. A pity she didn't have a chance to do more comedies during her brief heyday since she was so adept at them.
A gem of a film, see it!
Veronica Lake and Cecil Kellaway are witches who have been sealed up in a tree for about 300 years. They are NOT nice witches and are thrilled when a bolt of lightning shatters the tree and releases them to do evil! The first thing they want to do is destroy the descendants of the man who persecuted them during the witch trials. His most direct descendant is Frederick March and he is about to marry the woman he loves. So, Veronica plans on meeting him and placing a love potion in his drink so he becomes attracted to her instead--with the intention of then dumping him and leaving him miserable. Of course, being a comedy, she accidentally drinks the potion and falls head over heels for March! The acting is excellent (particularly Kellaway who is uncharacteristically EVIL in this movie) and the writing superb in the short little picture.
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