Sunday, March 04, 2012

Delightful and Not Idiotic

My Saturday night 'date' with JP was a Bhatti, a lovely Indian restaurant (where we ran into - and dined with - Sunil & Fernando!), followed by rental of a terrific forgotten classic, the 1939 film 'Idiot's Delight,' based on the Pulitzer-winning stage play by Robert Sherwood.

It's a comedy-drama with a strong anti-war theme, and takes place briefly in 1919 in Omaha and mostly twenty years later in Europe as World War 2 is breaking out. Clark Gable and Norma Shearer star as two show people who cross paths then and now; and she's luminous - and hilarious - as a woman who's unconventional to the point of preposterous. A very young and dashing Burgess Meredith plays an anti-war activist whose defiance seals his fate. Filmed with the gorgeous winter mountain scenery of an unnamed Alpine country. Oddly, this is the only film in which Gable either sang or dance (Puttin on the Ritz, with a gaggle of wisecracking 'Les Blondes'). Idiot's Delight refers to solitaire - in the stage play, that is what God is thought to be doing while mankind wreaks destruction upon itself...

Watch an excerpt, for want of a trailer:

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