The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Globe Life

January 15, 2010

Review: Movies speak to audiences in similar ways

For this column I will look at two movies that couldn’t be any more different from each other — on paper, anyway. But they both possess whatever magic lies within really good movies to make them “speak” to an audience — to show us something about ourselves and the world around us.

“Unfaithfully Yours”

(not rated)

Whenever I’m asked to recommend a movie to a library patron (and it happens fairly often) I always tell them, “Oh, you should get ‘Unfaithfully Yours.’” It’s the perfect movie to recommend to a stranger for three reasons:

1. It’s really good.

2. It’s tasteful (but not boringly so).

3. Most people have never heard of it, let alone seen it.

The movie tells the tale of one Sir Alfred De Carter, a famous orchestra conductor who, despite his prestige and high standing, is a man at heart and as such is given over to petty jealousy and fantasies of revenge when he suspects his wife of having a wandering eye.

As he conducts his symphony through several disparate pieces of classical music, his mind wanders as he envisions impossibly complex ways to both prove his wife’s unfaithfulness and to exact his own ultra-suave brand of revenge. But things go hilariously awry when De Carter actually gets a chance to set his plots into motion.

“Unfaithfully Yours” stars a younger Rex Harrison, 16 years before his famous turn as Professor Henry Higgins in “My Fair Lady,” and benefits tremendously from the highly skilled actor’s wonderful performance. Capturing a pompousness and coldness about De Carter while still remaining sympathetic is no small feat, and Harrison handles it admirably.

Once things start to go seriously downhill for the man, it’s hard not to feel sorry for him, even as you laugh at him and chastise him for ever fantasizing revenge in the first place.

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