Laughter (1930)

laughter 1930

Good drama with some light touches along the way about a show girl married to a multi millionaire. After a year her former boyfriend returns. It was nominated for the Best Writing, Original Story Oscar. The winner was “The Dawn Patrol.” It could have been a heavy handed soap opera but to its credit it doesn’t go there. That’s not to say there aren’t some soapy moments but they all fit.

Ralph is a sculptor who is in love with Peggy Gibson (Nancy Carroll). He calls and leaves a message with her maid Pearl. It’s not much of one. He just laughs. Peggy goes to see him. He’s about to commit suicide. She discovers a note he left for her and sees a gun on the floor next to his chair. He changes his mind.

Peggy’s former boyfriend Paul (Fredric March) returns after a year in Paris. He’s a musician and is trying to write a symphony. He walks into the Gibson mansion and the butler asks for his card. He doesn’t have one. He sits at the piano. Peggy hears it upstairs but leaves.

Peggy’s husband C.Mortimer Gibson (Frank Morgan) comes home and sees Paul and Benham the butler both at the piano. It’s all friendly. Mortimer is all about work and making money and Paul becomes her light hearted companion.

Returning from Europe is Marjorie, Peggy’s stepdaughter. Romance blooms between Ralph and Marjorie. One day they go for a boat ride and Paul and Peggy go for a drive to Long Island. They run out of gas and it starts to rain. They make it to a house. Nobody home so Paul finds an unlocked window and climbs in. He opens the door for Peggy.

Now comes the silliest part of the movie as they put their clothes in front of the fireplace to dry and wear bear skin rugs. Peggy called a cab. While they wait they act goofy and then start to have serious conversation. They’re interrupted as the cops show up.

Mortimer has just made eight million bucks. He finally notices Peggy’s not home so he pops some champagne and celebrates with his secretary Mr.Winslow. That’s interrupted by a phone call from Peggy at the police station. He arranges for a police escort home. In the back of the car Paul tells her she needs laughter in her life because she’s dying and not having any fun. Paul is going to sail back to Europe and asks her to come with him. She’s staying.

That night Mortimer is having a costume party. He’s dressed as Napoleon. Party aside it’s going to be an interesting night.

This is an interesting movie and well worth checking out.

Despite his many film appearances Frank Morgan will always be remembered as the man behind the curtain in 1939’s “The Wizard Of Oz.”




About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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