Monday, February 13, 2012

The Great Garrick (1937)



The Great Garrick is a clever film. David Garrick was a real British actor in the 1760s who was known as a big ham. Warner Bros took this idea and decided to make their Garrick character conceited in thinking he is better than everyone. He makes the mistake of insulting the Comedie Francais. Garrick is set to play in Paris so the actors of Comedie plan to get their revenge and show that they really can act.
            Garrick (Brian Aherne) knows he has made a bit of a mess for himself and pretends to be sick but his servant Tubby (Edward Everett Horton) tells him to get over it and show the French how fantastic he is.
            In France the Comedie lead by M. Beaumarchais (Lionel Atwill) plan their revenge against Garrick. The idea is that they will take over an inn where the entire troupe will be play the servants and the owner. Fortunately for Garrick and unfortunately for the troupe a man who used to work with the actor tells him of the troupe’s plan. Garrick is nothing but thrilled and is ready to see what will be thrown his way.
            The troupe receives their guest at the inn but an unexpected turn literally walks through the door. The turn is a young girl named Germaine (Olivia de Havilland). She is just a traveler running away from home. Garrick sees the young girl and finds her very pretty but he thinks she is part of the troupe and plays along.
            That night Germaine screams because there is a frog in her bed. Garrick knew she would be calling for him he figures Germaine is the one that is out to seduce him. He goes to her room to help and once the frog is out of the room they get to talking which leads to them taking a walk out in the garden. Garrick truly falls in love with Germaine she is a sweet young girl.
            Later when Garrick lets the troupe know that he knows their plan and had known it before he arrived, believing Germaine was in on the act tells her that she was the worst one and that she should give up her ambitions of being an actress. After Germaine leaves the troupe lets him know that she was not with them and Garrick becomes upset with the thought that he has lost the love of his life.
            Garrick is set to perform Don Juan but he is too upset over what he has done to Germaine. He wants to go find Germaine to apologize and get her back. He goes out onto the stage when stage hand he used to work with lets him know that Germaine is sitting in the balcony. Right then and there Garrick professes his love for Germaine in front of the audience without giving her away and goes on to perform in the play.
            As I said this film is clever. I liked how the troupe tried to trick Garrick. They were so elaborate in some of their shenanigans like they faked a sword fight and running down the hall that I cannot explain properly but I was laughing pretty hard. I liked the plot of this it was different and fun.
            Olivia de Havilland was twenty-one in this film and completely adorable. I love watching her early roles because she is the perfect ingénue and she was so light and so cute. The more I see of de Havilland no matter what decade or how old she is the more I adore her. I had never seen Brain Aherne in a film before this. He was alright. It was just weird seeing him with Olivia de Havilland because two years later he married her sister Joan Fontaine and I knew that before I watched the film so it seemed odd in some way. Lionel Atwill was hysterical in period dress. I felt so bad for him because this was the guy in some of the best “scary” film from 1930s. I like him as the sinister man and here he was in period dress in French clothing from the 1700s. Lana Turner was in the film but I am not familiar with her so I did not know which character she was. Her character has a name I just do not know her face well enough. Albert Dekker was in the film as well but I believe this was one of his first films and he did not really have a large role. I could be wrong I may not have really noticed him.
            The Great Garrick was enjoyable to sit through. At the time I watched it I was not really paying too much attention because my day to that point had been terrible. I thought watching a comedy with Olivia de Havilland would take my mind off of what was going on but it only helped a little. What I did pay attention to I really liked and will most likely buy The Great Garrick on DVD.