Jul 31, 2015

Bessie Love, The Broadway Melody


Spearheading a film as awful and rough around the edges as The Broadway Melody, it was easy for me to be disenchanted by Bessie Love's performance during my very first watch some time ago. This time however, even though The Broadway Melody remains just as bad as I had initially remembered, I find that Love more than holds her own here, bringing a central emotional depth to the film more profound than I had recalled. The old-school manner in which she (and everyone in the film for that matter) act and speak doesn't jar nearly as much this time around. She may be subjected into a silly emotional trajectory due to the trite storyline (deeply distraught because her sister is dating some guy she doesn't approve of such that she needs to pray to God, depressed over the fact that she has to deal with her boyfriend falling for said sister, etc.), but I felt as though she does the best she can with the material. The charismatically spunky and lively nature she brings to Hank is appreciated, though I'm still stunned as to how flat out bad all of her and Anita Page's musical numbers are--it never seems as though she is fit to be a performer whatsoever, and she sort of sounds like a cat in heat while singing. But still, whenever the film focuses on Hank's internal characterization, Love is more than up to snuff to handle, even if I think she misses a key opportunity to deeply flesh out a potential inferiority complex in respects to her more adored sibling. But her quieter moments are killer--such as when she displays her heartbreak when Queenie comes home late, or when she removes her makeup following her letting go of Eddie. When it all boils down to it, this is a well-done turn in a film that isn't quite so.

1 comment:

  1. But Bessie Love is cute as hell, and she lived a great long life. I only wish I had lived in the 1920s and met her.