The Scoundrel

  • 1935
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy, Drama

This is a smart-set literati piece starring Noel Coward as a New York publisher who is a marionette master, pulling the strings of everyone around him while scattering bons mots like rose petals. He is a charming heel who loves 'em, leaves 'em, and remains the main topic of conversation at swank hotels, various watering spots, and brittle cocktail parties....read more

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This is a smart-set literati piece starring Noel Coward as a New York publisher who is a marionette master, pulling the strings of everyone around him while scattering bons mots like rose petals. He is a charming heel who loves 'em, leaves 'em, and remains the main topic of conversation at

swank hotels, various watering spots, and brittle cocktail parties. Julie Haydon, a young author, is in love with Stanley Ridges, and Coward means to break them up and make her his own. Meanwhile, he meets his female counterpart in Hope Williams, who is just as world-weary, cynical, and cunning as

he is. Coward gets aboard a Bermuda-bound flight which crashes, killing everyone aboard. But he gets a new lease on life and is allowed to return to this world, never to rest until he finds someone, anyone, who mourns his passing. In the end, Coward makes peace with his Maker and is allowed to

have eternal salvation. The metaphysical conclusion left many in the audience wondering what it all meant, and some of the actors were mystified as well. The picture is mostly talk with very little action. Coming off their sensational debut as co-authors-directors-producers of CRIME WITHOUT

PASSION, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur made the virtually unreleasable ONCE IN A BLUE MOON. (It was held for a year before it was let slip out.) They followed up with this movie, which must be one of the earliest existential films produced. Hecht and MacArthur were not true directors who knew

how to make the screen dance with images, and their lack of expertise is evident throughout. Yet the wonderful words spoken by almost everyone in the cast keep the movie afloat. To star in their original work, which owes a bit to the Hecht novel Fantazius Mallare and to his well-known A Jew InLove, they chose Noel Coward, who was making his talking picture debut after having done a silent juvenile bit in Griffith's HEARTS OF THE WORLD in 1918. This movie was made at the Astoria, Long Island, lot and was a favorite of sophisticates, pseudo-sophisticates, and anyone who could recognize

the real-life people upon whom the screenplay was based.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This is a smart-set literati piece starring Noel Coward as a New York publisher who is a marionette master, pulling the strings of everyone around him while scattering bons mots like rose petals. He is a charming heel who loves 'em, leaves 'em, and remains… (more)

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