Saturday, November 10, 2012

Rockabye (1932)

After testifying in the trial of her former lover, Broadway actress Judy Carroll (Constance Bennett) is forced to give up the little orphan girl she wanted to adopt, because of the negative publicity.  Heartbroken by the loss, she takes the advice of her longtime manager and admirer Tony (Paul Lukas), and travels to Europe for several months.  While abroad, she reads a play called “Rockabye,” and decides she wants to star in it, despite Tony’s warning that the story is too similar to her recent personal life.  The writer, Jake (Joel McCrea) also doesn’t want Judy to do the play, but for a different reason: he doesn’t think she’s a good enough actress to play the part.  But Judy immediately proves Jake wrong, winning his support and Tony’s reluctant agreement to produce the play.  Judy and Jake find themselves falling for one another after a romantic night on the town, and shortly after, Jake asks Judy to marry him once his divorce is final.  She happily agrees, but their plans may change when the opening night of the play brings about a surprising turn of events.

Rockabye is a briskly paced pre-code with loads of great moments and excellent acting performances!  Constance Bennett is fabulous -- energetic, with great confidence, and really wonderful opposite the rest of the cast, including being absolutely charming with the little orphan, and simply electric with Joel McCrea.  Her versatility is excellent, because she has some fun moments and also some sad, dramatic ones, and she does both equally well.

My favorite scenes are definitely the delightful ones in the middle of the story, starting when Judy and Jake first go off together on their romantic outing, and then wind up in the kitchen making breakfast.  That scene is so sexy.  Then there's a whimsical part afterwards when Jake fills up Judy's room with toy balloons, since she had always wanted some.  Definitely some of the most memorable moments in pre-codes!

The plot itself isn't as good overall as the stand-out moments and exciting acting, however, and some parts of it can seem a little frustrating and disappointing.  For instance, I wasn't a fan of the ending.  But as a whole, I'm so glad to have watched this film because the positives make it well worth seeing.

♥ ♥ ♥ ½

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