The Donovan Affair

  • 1929
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy, Mystery

This early all-dialog talkie was among the first of the many films Frank Capra directed under his contract deal with Harry Cohn, boss of Columbia Pictures, a deal that took Capra from two-reeler Mack Sennett obscurity to total creative freedom--he was the first studio contract director whose name was permitted to precede the film's title when the credits...read more

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This early all-dialog talkie was among the first of the many films Frank Capra directed under his contract deal with Harry Cohn, boss of Columbia Pictures, a deal that took Capra from two-reeler Mack Sennett obscurity to total creative freedom--he was the first studio contract director

whose name was permitted to precede the film's title when the credits rolled--and that made Columbia a major studio. In coming years, Capra was to win three Academy Awards for directing within a five-year period (IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, 1934; MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN, 1936; YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH

YOU, 1938). THE DONOVAN AFFAIR was Capra's first all-talking picture; a murder mystery, it was an excellent vehicle for the director's penchant for comedy. Loud, self-assured, but bumbling Inspector Holt, assisted by his beefy, stupid aide Kelsey, responds to a darkened-dining-room murder by

replicating the circumstances, at which point another murder occurs. Embarrassed, Holt opts for yet a third try; with a little help from the other one-time banqueters, including Collier, Jr., and Revier (the romantic couple) and Wales and Mann (the comic relief), the criminal is tricked and

apprehended. Barring a little excessive volume, mostly from the female cast members, the sound recording is surprisingly good in this historically interesting film. To capture a sense of reality Holt took advantage of his star status to insist that the entire cast go without makeup and the affable

Capra agreed.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This early all-dialog talkie was among the first of the many films Frank Capra directed under his contract deal with Harry Cohn, boss of Columbia Pictures, a deal that took Capra from two-reeler Mack Sennett obscurity to total creative freedom--he was the… (more)

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