Jul 30, 2021
This week on the pod, we get started with our new Acteurist Oeuvre-View series: Margaret Sullavan. We were expecting solid entries from the selective Sullavan, but weren't fully prepared for John Stahl to match his Back Street achievement with Sullavan's screen debut, Only Yesterday (1933). We discuss its relationship to Opühls' Letter from an Unknown Woman, with which it shares a source, while concluding that it has more in common with Mervyn LeRoy's Random Harvest. We also posit Stahl-Sullavan as the American Ozu-Hara... if only they'd worked together more than once. Next, another Universal movie set against a backdrop of social chaos, Frank Borzage's Little Man, What Now? (1934), where Sullavan is tasked with the burden of being the entire meaning of a man's life in a bewildering hell-world. Spoiler: we think she's up to the job. We talk differences and similarities between the social outlooks of the Two Franks (Borzage and Capra) and their depictions of grace. This is going to be a long one, so make some popcorn!
0h 01m 00s: Brief introduction to Margaret Sullavan
0h 15m 54s: ONLY YESTERDAY (1933) [dir. John M. Stahl]
1h 03m 09s: LITTLE MAN, WHAT NOW? (1934) [dir. Frank Borzage]
Referenced This Episode:
The Call of the Heart: John M. Stahl and Hollywood Melodrama - Bruce Babbington and Charles Barr
* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s
* Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)
* Read Elise’s latest film piece on Preston Sturges, Unfaithfully Yours, and the Narrative role of comedic scapegoating.
* Check out Dave’s new Robert Benchley blog – an attempt to annotate and reflect upon as many of the master humorist’s 2000+ pieces as he can locate – Benchley Data: A Wayward Annotation Project!
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