Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Easy Virtue | #ProjectHitch

This week’s movie, Easy Virtue (1928) is actually an adaption of the Noel Coward play of the same name. I had previously seen the 2008 adaptation and had not loved it so I was interested to see how this film would work for me. And, now, having watched it I still don’t really know where I stand with this story. The two adaptations are utterly different from one another so I think I’m definitely going to have to find myself a copy of the original play to read and see what Coward’s original vision consisted of.

The basic premise of the story is a good ‘virtuous’ woman, Larita, who through a series of uncontrollable events is divorced from her husband and publicly cast in a bad and socially damaging light. The movie begins with the court proceedings surrounding her divorce as well as flashbacks to the events that lead to this moment. We then follow Larita as she attempts to leave her past behind and begin a new life, which of course is not as easy as our hard done by protagonist would like. 

In essence the film is full corrupt characters, outdated morals, inevitable injustices and one of the most hateful mothers in law you’re likely to see. 

The movie is really quite depressing without being able to rely on Noel Coward’s famous wit, what with it being a silent film and all. There are a couple of light hearted moments throughout but overall Larita’s life seemed pretty bleak and hopeless. Those of you that know my tastes will know that normally bleak and hopeless would be draw cards for me since I usually find beauty in the melancholy but something about this film just didn’t sit right with me. Don’t get me wrong, after the long drawn out ordeal of The Farmer’s Wife last week, Easy Virtue was a refreshing romp, especially considering this effort brought back that signature Hitchcock cinematography style that was missing from the previous film but this still sits low on my list of favourites. I just didn’t find myself caring enough about the characters, not even poor unfortunate, Larita.

One of Larita's very few happy moments

Not one I would highly recommend checking out unless you’re a die-hard Coward fan and are wanting to see what a silent film can do with his ideas.

Be sure to check back next week for the second last of Hitchcock’s silent films, Champagne.

- Lesley

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