“Our Betters”

July 3, 2008

An A-Picture for Charley at last!

Check out this Hollywood royalty. Director: George Cukor. Producer: David O. Selznick. And the property is based on a play by W. Somerset Maugham.

And he’s fourth billing! Not bad for a guy coming off of “Jungle Bride” and “Mask of Fu Manchu.”

Story involves Lady Pearl Grayson (a patented tour de force role for one Constance Bennett), an American heiress who marries a Duke for love, discovers he’s a penniless cheat and becomes a bitter, yet fabulously popular, socialite — all this in the first five minutes.

Charles plays Fleming Harvey, the American boyfriend of Lady Pearl’s younger sister. When he arrives in London, his gal has become dazzled by the “brilliant” British society. “There’s nothing brilliant or dazzling about me,” he admits.

Fleming’s role in the film is as a contrast to the decadent ex-pats who are busy having affairs with each other’s lovers, acting blaze and being cruel, and what-not. “There’s something about these people that makes me feel terribly uncomfortable!”

Charley does very well with this role, playing his outrage well. “There are such things as honor and decency and self-restraint!” He manages to pass judgment without seeming overly judgmental. No easy task.

In the end, his gal is sick of it all, cries in his arms and pleads for him to take her home. He breaks into one of those huge Starrett grins and shouts, “The boat sails on Saturday, Darling!”

Nice work! Spot on!