Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cinema Tuesdays {Bluebeard's Eighth Wife}

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From 1938, here is a little known Lubitsch Screwball starring Claudette Colbert, Gary Cooper and Edward Everett Horton and co-written by Billy Wilder!
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The Scene: The French Riviera.
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This is Michael, an American multi-millionaire. He only wants to buy the top to a pair of pyjamas. You can tell that he's never had to work in retail and he's used to getting his own way.
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After causing a stink with the management, in waltzes Nicole, who only wants to buy pyjama bottoms. She gives Michael a tip to cure his insomnia (slowly spell Czechoslovakia backwards while stretching in bed) and they make a deal.
So, why does a nice girl like Nicole want to by the bottoms to a pair of men's pyjama's?
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Michael then moves to a different suite in the hotel and is shocked to find a broken down Marquis in his bed. The Marquis tries to offer Michael a business deal, but when Michael points out that it's a con, the Marquis offers to sell him Louis XIV's bathtub in exchange for enough money to pay his past due hotel bill. Michael refuses until he sees the Marquis' pyjama bottoms and learns that he's Nicole's father.
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Young David Niven (when he was still playing second fiddle roles) plays Albert, another broke aristocrat.
"Nicole, who is that strange man over there?"
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"I don't know. I've only met him once, but I do know that he sleeps only in the tops of his pyjamas"
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Michael thinks that buying the bathtub has also bought a date with Nicole. So, she sends him off with a flea in his ear.
"I wish someone would tell you what I really think of you."
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Isn't this a great dress. Miss Colbert wears a lot of these frilly Thirties dresses here.
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Eventually they do go out.
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Two weeks later, when they are announcing their engagement, Michael casually mentions that he has been married seven times before and that each of his wives receive $50,000 a year for the rest of their lives. Nicole agrees to marry him if she gets twice that, since she is taking a big risk in becoming the eighth wife.
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Nicole has a plan as to how to get a divorce and tame Michael.
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The newlyweds eventually return to Paris and live in separate wings in their flat.
Michael tries to make Nicole into a wife he can control and just listen to how the soundtrack illustrates what Michael is thinking:

Of course, Michael doesn't realize that he is Katherina and Nicole has been playing Petruchio since they got hitched.

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Eventually, Michael gets Nicole to stay home one night for a quiet supper to work on their marriage.
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It goes well, until Nicole realizes how much wine Michael has plied her with. Fortunately, she thinks of a way out.
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When Michael starts receiving anonymous letter, he hires a detective to follow his wife and discovers that there is no other man.
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Nicole then blackmails the detective into revealing Michael's plan to catch her is the act the Invisible Man and comes up with a counter plan.
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Nicole does get her divorce and her husband back.
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Her plan involves this fab outfit,
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Albert in his shirt tails,
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And Michael in a straight jacket.

Bluebeard's Eighth Wife is only available on Region 1 as part of the Universal Vault Collection (which is expensive). Or you could always download it in a couple of hours.


Kori said...

Wow I will have to check this out this weekend. Have a great day honey!

Did you hear my good news yesterday? Kori xoxo


Ivy Black said...

Love this film.xx