Saturday, February 16, 2013

21 Days Together (1940)



21 Days Together is a film I am sure not many of you have never heard of unless you are a fan of either Vivien Leigh or Laurence Oliver or the two of them as a couple. I am a fan of Vivien Leigh and apparently I went looking this a while ago on Youtube because when I searched for it again today it came up that I had already looked for it. Thanks to Hulu this weekend I was able to view 21 Days Together as part of the sites promotion to watch their collection of Criterion films for free.
            Keith Durrant has just been named to be a new judge in a town court. That day his brother Larry (Olivier) turns up. Larry is the family that is never mentioned. He is not a bad man he just causes unwanted trouble for the family. Keith is not too pleased to see his brother since he has gotten the position he has wanted for so long.
            Larry has been seeing Wanda (Leigh). While walking to her house they see the lights are on. Wanda says she did not leave the lights on when she left someone could be in her house because she lost the key the week before. When they walk in they see a man. The man is Wanda’s husband who she has not seen in three years. The man tries to blackmail Larry to disappear. The two men get into a fight. It ends after Larry has accidentally strangled the husband. Larry takes the body to an alley way and leaves it there to be found.
            A police officer finds the body the next night. Larry goes to his brother and confesses. He tells Keith he wants to go to the police to confess his crime. Keith cannot have this happen since he has just gotten his new position. He tells his brother to leave the country to go down to Rio. Larry asks what Wanda do he does not want to leave her alone. Keith says she can follow later for now they have to burn anything they have given each other. Being either a nice older brother or trying to tie up loose ends for his own sake Keith goes to visit Wanda to talk about the night of the murder. Wanda explains that she got married after a week because she was starving. Not long after she was offered a job in London and had not seen her husband until that night in three years.
            A man is apprehended for the murder of Wanda’s husband. All the evidence is circumstantial. Keith is convinced that the man will not be punished based off the lack of evidence. Larry is not so sure and claims that if the man is found guilty he will turn himself in if the man is innocent he will not say anything. The poor man is convicted of the murder. Larry now has three weeks of freedom before he is to turn himself in. He and Wanda get married and he lavishes her with clothes and even a boat trip to an amusement park.
            The night Wanda and Larry come home his landlord throws them a going away party since they all think the couple is going off to New Zealand for some time. Larry quietly leaves the party to turn himself in. Just as he walks a few blocks down the street Wanda reads in the newspaper the man that was convicted of the murder died on his way to the gallows. Wanda races after Larry and gets to him just as he is about to walk into the police station.
            The film was made in 1937 but was not released in America until 1940. You can tell that both Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier were younger looking. Before I read this I could not get over how much different Oliver looked in Rebecca I thought that could have been down to the makeup that could have been put on his face. The couple were amazing actors there is no denying either one of them had tremendous talent. But in this early film of both their careers their film acting is not too great. Laurence Olivier kind of drives me crazy either way he was too much of a stage actor always going a little over the top for my taste. With Vivien Leigh I knew there was something going on because she obviously awesome as Scarlett O’Hara and even more incredible as Myra Lester in Waterloo Bridge that was released the same year. She looks so young and even her acting was a little too much.
            21 Days Together is definitely not the best film ever made. If it had not been for the fact that Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh were in it am sure it would not be known at all. Even though the film has quite a few faults it is worth seeing at least once. Right now 21 Days Together is available to view on Hulu for free and will be available to see on Hulu Plus if you pay for it.