Rouben Mamoulian. The release of obscure old movies on DVD must surely
count as one of the soul-nourishing technological advances of our era.
The most delightful DVD double bill of the winter: two forgotten early
talkies by Hollywood director Rouben Mamoulian.
Applause (1929) is a brilliant portrait of small-time showbiz squalor,
with Helen Morgan giving a decidedly unglamorous performance. A much
bubblier confection from 1932 is Love Me Tonight, which offers Maurice
Chevalier singing great songs by Rodgers and Hart, including "Isn't It
Romantic?" The plot may be banal (humble tailor falls in love with
pampered princess) but the style and pacing make this a more effective
mood-elevator than Prozac — a true buried treasure that will leave you
feeling spring must be on the way.