I apologize, dear readers, for the lack of posting this past week, I’ve been very busy with various things and haven’t had the wherewithal to dedicate as much time to the blog as it demands. So to make up for it, as I am on a Joan Fontaine kick in the wake of the new additions to my collection, I am going to review a lovely little film called The Affairs of Susan, a jolly romp in the life of one girl with a few too many suitors.
The girl is, of course, Joan Fontaine, playing Susan, the girl men can’t really figure out. The film begins with the latest love interest of Susan’s, Richard, who wants to marry her, but it soon becomes clear that he doesn’t know the first thing about her. He learns that she has had multiple boyfriends and an ex-husband that she has never told him about, and she is still on speaking terms with them. They attend Susan and Richar’d engagement party, and we learn about her past through a series of flashbacks about her relationships, told by all her suitors, and it turns out that Susan is not an easy lady to understand!
The movie is a comedy, and after all the dramas and Hitchcock movies that Joan Fontaine made, it’s lovely to see her in something light. The suitors are played by Walter Abel (Richard), George Brent, Dennis O’Keefe and Don DeFore. Brent does a great job as Susan’s befuddled Broadway producer ex-husband, but I find the rest of them to be rather dull. How an exciting woman like Susan found anything in them, I’ll never know, but Joan Fontaine plays Susan so surprisingly well (as I mentioned before, we’re used to her in dramas, so a comedy seems a little out of place, but she has a real comic flair) that she makes us believe whatever she’s doing. I was very impressed with her in this movie.
The script is mediocre, but quite funny. In one of my favorite scenes, when George Brent first meets Susan, he thinks that she is just an aspiring actress buttering him up for a part. When Susan explains to him that she never reads newspapers, never sees plays, never goes to movies, Brent says to her “But you’d like to be a star, wouldn’t you?” Susan begins to look wistful and responds “Yes….I think I’d like to be Venus.”
All in all, this is a cute little movie that you should see if you can get your hands on it. I can’t find it on Netflix, and I’ve never seen it played on TCM, but if you’re interested, check eBay or amazon.com, there might be some collector’s copies available. I don’t think it’s released on DVD, so that probably explains Netflix. It’s really worth seeing for Joan Fontaine more than anything else!