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The wonderful Marian Marsh


slaytonf
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Another in my distressingly long list of favored movie actors with mangled careers.  I first saw Marian Marsh in her arresting performance of a church mouse with the heart of a lion in Beauty and the Boss (1932).  I've looked out for her movies since, only recently realizing she was Trilby to L. Barrymore's Svengali (1931).  Tonight she starred opposite Peter Lorre in Crime and Punishment (1935).  Leaving alone what was done to Dostoyevski's masterwork, Miss Marsh was one of the best things in it, and went a long way toward salvaging the movie--though for me, not completely.  She shows what a fine actress she was.  Sonya is a role wrought with melodrama, and in most anybody's hands could come off as absurd or silly.  But Marian Marsh invests her with dignity and sincerity.

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One of my favourite moments in Svengali occurs when John Barrymore, frustrated that he can't get his lovely Trilby (Marian Marsh) to make love to him, hypnotizes her into feeling a sudden passion for him.

 

Marion's eyes open wide with desire.

 

"Svengaaaali," she purrs, flinging her arms around him.

 

After waiting so long, Svengali finally has his moment of physical ecstacy at hand. Then, reluctantly, he pushes her away from him.

 

"Ah, " he says, "it's only Svengali talking to Svengali."

 

He sounds like the saddest man in the world. Perhaps he's also a little annoyed with himself because he can't bring himself to be the cad he thought he could be.

 

 

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slaytonf--If you haven't already found it, "The Mad Genius" (1931) is just as good as "Svengali".  I saw a film called "The Black Room" with Boris Karloff as twins, both evil(?) and Marsh--I remember it being quite good--& "The Man Who Lived Twice" I've read good reviews of.  Her films are rarities to come by--I've seen 4--TMG, TBR, C&P, & Svengali.  If "The Black Room is shown, catch it--Boris Karloff & Marian Marsh are both good in it.   Thanks for drawing attention to a fine, overlooked (by me, at least) actress.  Till tonights' showing of "Crime and Punishment" (1935), I just thought of her as just  another horror movie actress.

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You're welcome, filmlover.  Beauty and the Boss airs on TCM at long intervals.  Marion's performance is nothing less than jaw-dropping.  You'll understand when you see it.

 

The first time I saw this (years ago) I didn't see it coming. This unbelievable Miss Marvelous was setting records for volubility as well as other verbal feats. If they had Academy Awards for most words in a minute of screen time, forget it, she's got it. Anyone having trouble looking for a job should watch this. It just might energize you.

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