Enchanted April (1935)
Italy in April
An amusing side note; as I sat down to watch "Enchanted April" for some reason I thought I was about to watch the 1991 version and so was taken aback when I discovered it was the 1935 RKO production. Fortunately I enjoy old movies as much as new ones and this 1935 version of Elizabeth von Arnim's novel has some typical 1930's charm. But whilst a little charming "Enchanted April" does not have that something extra to make it special, to make you want to watch it again or to make it linger in your memory.
Mrs. Lotty Wilkins (Ann Harding) is tired with her life in rainy London and on seeing an advert for a castle in Italy decides she should go. Lotty meets Mrs. Rose Arbuthnot (Katharine Alexander) and quickly realises that Rose like her is dissatisfied with her life and her marriage and convinces her to go with her. But in order to afford it they seek out two other women to go with them and share the costs.
Now at just 66 minutes "Enchanted April" has an immediate issue and to squeeze the storyline into the short running time it ends up very choppy. There is very little flow to it as we go from Lotty and Rose chatting to various flashbacks of their problematic marriages. In a way it reminded me of early silent cinema where just the bare bones of a story were filmed on a single reel.
But the condensed storyline is not the movies only issues and of course you have to take into consideration the era the movie was shot but the use of fake backdrops and stage sets makes it look every ounce a small budget movie. In fact with the condensed, jarring storyline it often feels like an adaptation of a stage play.
But despite this "Enchanted April" still has some charm from some stereotypical culture clash comedy as we watch Lotty and Rose arrive at the Italian villa and are surrounded by men. And both Ann Harding and Katharine Alexander as Lotty and Rose play their parts well with plenty of facial expressions which this sort of movie calls for.
What this all boils down to is that this 1935 version of "Enchanted April" isn't a great movie but has a certain amount of old fashioned charm to it which makes it a pleasant but not overly memorable watch.
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