falderal : a moving images blog
Waterloo Bridge ; 1931  ·  Posted by Tallulah

Director: James Whale
Actors: Mae Clarke, Douglass Montgomery, Doris Lloyd, Frederick Kerr, Enid Bennett, Bette Davis
Country: U.S.A.

I’ve watched the remake of this film and absolutely fell in love with it the first time I watched it. I forgot what the title was and it took me two years to hunt it down until my mom finally remembered what the title was. When I looked it up, I found out that it was a remake of an earlier film so I became even more curious about this film. Usually I hate remakes, but I adored the remake; that gets me wondering if the mindset that people carry about remakes is what tarnishes their reputation because I didn’t know the later Waterloo Bridge was a remake and liked it. I probably would have liked it nevertheless due to Vivien Leigh and the great story and acting. Anyway going on, at first I was indifferent while watching this (original) version due to the odd pacing and me wondering just where this film was going with the story. On top of that, sometimes Mae Clarke’s face expressions were hard to decipher. I really did like Mae Clarke as Myra and she was gorgeous yet had an air of tragedy, which was perfect for her character. Kent Douglass as the nineteen year old war soldier Roy looks completely innocent and is perfect in this role. I was surprised to see the young Bette Davis but her performance didn’t leave much of an impression on me, which makes me admire her even more for eventually becoming such a big star. It’s a shame that this was my first Davis film but it is still interesting to see her in one of her earlier films.

The editing and special effects in this film is fun to see since it’s obvious but still pretty good for its time. I wonder if they used the Schüfftan process, but it doesn’t look as seamless as it did in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Hmm… *ponders*

My favourite scene has got to be when Myra sees Roy leave and then puts on her hat and gets ready to go out again (ref. Picture 2). From her face expression and her getting ready to go out, somehow you know about her occupation. I thought Mae Clarke’s performance was at its best in this scene although the scene when she yells and cries when Roy comes in through the window is a close second.

Also a weird thing, the ending credits has “A Good Cast is Worth Repeating”; I wonder what the meaning of that is…

The beginning of the film is a bit slow but as the film progresses, it gets better and better. I do recommend this film although I can see how some people might not like it. It’s not as dramatic as it could have been or as tragic, but I think it was good nonetheless. The remake definitely smoothes out the rough edges and heightens the drama and the tragedy. It’s also interesting to watch a film that goes against the stereotype of pre-code films being racy and sexual. I would give this film about a 7.5 or 8 out of 10.

I’ll definitely write about the remake as well once I find my DVD!

IMDb Link:
Waterloo Bridge
Where to buy: Amazon.com (Forbidden Hollywood Collection Vol. 1 DVD set)

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