Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year Wishes with "Auld Lang Syne" from Waterloo Bridge (1940)

I've been reading Charles Tranberg's intriguing Robert Taylor: A Biography (BearManor) and just came to his description of this touching--and timely--scene, lovingly photographed by Joseph Ruttenberg under the direction of Mervyn LeRoy. Simple yet quite moving, it is a hauntingly beautiful piece of cinema at the height of the studio system, making most viewers murmur silently to themselves, "this was romance..." Set during the First World War as blackouts and curfews became a reality for Londoners, the sequence was, as LeRoy wrote in his autobiography, Take One, "before all the candles were extinguished, the message was clear--they had fallen deeply, completely, in love. Not a word had been uttered."

Enjoy, Happy New Year and I hope you know love in this and every year of your life:
video


4 comments :

Caftan Woman said...

Sigh. Another new year full of hope and tears.

panavia999 said...

Sigh...so sweet. I'd also really like to see the 1931 version of this story directed by James Whale. It will be on TCM USA Mar 24, 12:00AM EDT

Moira Finnie said...

Patricia, I hope the year holds more of the laughter than the tears for you and yours.

I hope that you have a chance to see Whale's grittier version of Waterloo Bridge (1931), panavia. I think that both versions have their virtues.

In the first version of the play, Mae Clarke is wonderful and Douglass Montgomery (who I believe was going by the name of Kent Douglass then) does a beautiful job as a naive but perceptive young soldier, (though he was said to have driven the director crazy). It is still quite touching, emphasizing playwright Robert Sherwood's themes of loneliness, the sometimes futile efforts to believe in love and the suffering of war for those involved on the home and battle fronts. While this may sound too downbeat, the dramatic simplicity of the production and the haunting performance of Clarke is something worth seeing. In many ways it seems more like Anderson's The Petrified Forest

Thank goodness this earlier version survived MGM's efforts to erase its existence.

panavia999 said...

OOPS. My comment was too terse. It is the Robert Taylor version which will be on TCM on March 24. The James Whale version has been on TCM before, so it will be shown someday!

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