Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Affairs of Susan (1945)




Richard Aiken is about to marry a woman name Susan Darell (Joan Fontaine). He has just recently proposed to her and wants to marry her right away. At Susan’s apartment he sees pictures of the three previous men in her life. She tells him she was married to one of them and almost married to the other two. Susan holds a party at her place where Richard meets Roger (George Brent), Mike, and Bill the men who once held a place in her heart. He gets nervous and wants to talk to the other men so he can see what went wrong with them so he will not make the same mistake. Each man’s view of Susan are completely different, she was a different woman with each men.
            Roger goes first since he was the first to know her and he is the only one who knows the real Susan. He was away before starting a play of Joan of Arc. He was getting away from an actress he could not stand when he came upon a house across the lake from him. The house belongs to Susan and her uncle. At first Roger thought she was singing and wearing plain clothes to attract his attention but it turns out she is very naïve and when asked if she ever wanted to be a star she really thought he meant being a star in the sky. While on a walk on the shore she speaks of Joan of Arc and Roger is really taken with the way she recited the story. He has her read the script and likes her rendition. Roger makes Susan the star of his show and married her. While her reviews are good the play fails. The play fails mostly because Susan is so honest and says that the play is not doing well. Roger becomes really upset with her because she cannot lie but finds her perfect for it and so perfect he feels she is that he cannot be with her anymore.
            Mike met Susan when Roger brought him into his office to talk about backing a play. Mike is a rich rancher from the Midwest so he has some money to spare. Susan sneaks into Roger’s office and when Mike sees her he is head over heels in love. Susan is no longer the shy and brutally honest woman Roger knew she is now a breezy wild woman who cannot help but tell a fib. Being the naïve one now Mike asks Susan to marry him but unfortunately Susan’s fibbing and sneaking around get her into trouble and he breaks off the engagement.
            Susan and Bill meet one day in the part. She is reading a new script and he sees her and sits with her. A couple comes by, start fighting and drag Bill and Susan into it. Susan grabs Bill and they run away before trouble starts. Bill is an intellect and an author and although Susan has no clue what he is talking about she likes him. Susan is now an intellect wearing smart clothes and glasses. She asks Roger and Mike to look over Bill’s latest book to make a play she can star in. They cannot believe how Susan has changed and neither one of them likes it. They try to rescue her one night but she gets back to Bill, gets him drunk, and tries to marry him but she feels bad and breaks things off with him.
            Upon hearing these stories he really cannot wait to take Susan away to marry her. Unfortunately Roger, Mike, and Bill see the error of their ways and now they want to try to win Susan back.
            So who does she end up with?
            Joan Fontaine takes a rare turn in comedy with this film. So often was she cast in moody dramas that it is wonderful seeing her in a comedy. Fontaine had a great comedic side that is unfortunately rarely seen all thanks to them not being out on DVD (well You Gotta Stay Happy is now available as an individual release) or shown on TV. I loved her as Susan the character’s different personalities allowed Fontaine to really stretch her acting. I liked seeing her get mad and flustered in some moments that to me was when she was her funniest. I do not what more I can say about her in this film, Joan Fontaine was just great the more I see of her comedies when I can find them the more I adore her as an actress.
            George Brent is so good. He can be so romantic and dramatic one minute then be flustered and crazy the next perfectly. I liked Roger the best just because, well he’s George Brent and his character knew the real Susan and knew how to play to her real personality.
            The Affairs of Susan is a really cute film. The story maybe silly and a little long but it is definitely worth seeing. Joan Fontaine shows why she was one of the best actresses of her time and that she could be more than the emotional damsel in distress and she is reason alone to sit through the film.
            The Affairs of Susan is currently available to view on Youtube. Watch it quick before it disappears!!