“Royal Family of Broadway”

June 13, 2008

This may be the most annoying film I have ever seen.

1930 George Cukor movie centers around a bunch of irritating people who talk about acting and themselves. The Cavendish “tribe” is 3 generations of women and one brother who act. ALL THE TIME. They are all eccentric and self-involved. They’re always picking up snow shoes and playing them like guitars. Or acting out scenes. Or sword fighting. Or crying. Or fainting. Or shouting in hystronics “Let’s all go ring doorbells!” Or dying backstage at intermission.

Charles plays Perry Stewart, the young stock broker engaged to the youngest Cavendish. Basically, the whole story breaks down into Love vs. Acting. Charley represents Love. I’m on his side, even if the picture isn’t.

Charley would have been 26 years old. He had just been signed to Paramount. This was his second film as a professional actor. I wonder what he thought of these characters. Did he find them glamorous and aspire to live their lives?

Or did he believe every word of this speech: “An actress? What does that mean? Suppose you turn out to be as good as your mother? Or better? What does it mean when it’s all over? Get you name up in lights, when a fuse blows out, where are you?”

Since I suffered, there’s no reason you should. If compelled to see Charley in this, here is a guide to his (few) scenes.

23:41 mins. 3 minute scene. All in profile.

54:42 mins. 1 minute scene. One line: “What’s going on in here?”

65:31 mins. 8 minutes. He’s set dressing in a tuxedo. Two lines: “She’ll tell you” and “Yes, but I would think that would increase your depreciation.”



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