Lydia (1941)

  • Ben Hecht is a cowriter on this. That’s a good sign.
  • “The first cup of tea you ever gave me was June 30th, 1897.” — Michael Fitzpatrick (Joseph Cotten).

Who the fuck remembers dates like that, four decades after the fact? I’ll tell you – stalkers and obsessives. (Heads up, team…J-Cott might be a creeper in this film.)

  • Michael: “It was a pink dress [that you wore to your first ball]. I ought to know because I’ve kept it in a closet.”

Okay, yep – StalkerObsessive J-Cott, at your service.

  • This scenario (old beaus of a too-well-loved woman gather and reminisce) reminds me of the plot of MR. SKEFFINGTON (1944). Hopefully this story and all of these people turn out to be less crappy than they were in that one. (For the record, Mr. Skeffington himself (Claude Raines) was a beautiful soul – just all the rest were crap.)
  • In her first minute of screen time, Edna May Oliver (who plays Merle Oberon’s Aunt Sarah) calls a visiting doctor a “landlubber,” a “mutton-head,” a “castaway,” and says that he “doesn’t know his elbow from a barrel of rum.” And THAT’S the Edna May Oliver I know and love! None of that stupid MEET THE BARON (1933) business.
  • These are some gorgeously elaborate sets and costumes. (Research done after the fact credits Jack Okey (Art Direction), Julia Heron (Set Decorator), and Walter Plunkett (Costumes, obviously). Just so we know.)
  • Lydia (Merle Oberon) talks too fast and too much. She’s annoying me.
  • In one breath, Lydia has told Michael that she thinks of him as a brother, a friend, and is in love with & planning to elope with another man. Michael, are you fucking serious? THIS is the woman you’ve decided is the Only Girl For You? Get a grip, son. Don’t be a fool.
  • “Oh, Michael – you’re a gentleman.” — Lydia

“Oh, Michael – YOU’RE A GODDAMN IDIOT.” — Me

  • “Lyd” is not a pretty nickname.
  • This Richard who we haven’t met better be a stunner – so far I am unimpressed by Lydia’s other near misses.
  • (Edna May Oliver just referred to George Reeves’s character as “Puddin’ Head Bob.” This is why we get along so well.)
  • So Michael’s leaving for the war, right? And Lydia’s like, “Aren’t you going to kiss me, Michael?” And Michael goes, “When I get back.”

????? “When I get back”?!?! That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

  • Oh, so that’s Richard. Dang! What a letdown!
  • I was just about to comment on how bad the children’s Christmas tree looked – and then remembered that all of the people who decorated it are blind. Whoops. My bad.
  • Frank (Hans Jaray), turns out, is just as annoying as Lydia – he just does with music what she does with words.
  • I’m bored of this. When will it end?
  • Alright, but in the meantime – Richard (Alan Marshal) is, after all, the best of the lot. “You drive me crazy. You’ll tear my heart out with your eyes,” he says. Yep, that’s the real thing.
  • “Believe me. Trust me. Wait for me” says Richard’s letter. You can’t say that shit, then bail. What an asshole.
  • “And no soup for James,” says Edna May Oliver. “He hates it.” Yes! That’s how you know he’s a genuinely great man!
  • “Ask every woman – they know. Every woman is wise and foolish, clever and absurd, good and bad – just as Lydia was.” — Lydia
  • That last line just added tons of points to the overall score of this movie.
  • I did not see the “Richard doesn’t even remember her” thing coming – I think that also improved the movie for me a little. That ending took some balls.
  • I for sure love that the movie concludes that Lydia ultimately did not need a man in her life and made something of herself despite her singlehood…but I wish that that had been the main focus of the story, rather than her previous love attempts. LYDIA: The Tale of a Successful, Charitable, Independent Woman would have made a film so that was much more interesting than LYDIA: The Tale of the Stupid Men Who Tried to Marry Her. I mean…come on!



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