The Masquerader

  • 1933
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

This was Colman's eighteenth and final film for Goldwyn. Based on a 1905 best-seller, then a play, then a silent film which starred Guy Bates Post in 1922, THE MASQUERADER puts Colman, once again, in a dual role. (He probably played more dual roles than anyone, a practice that culminated with A DOUBLE LIFE, for which he won an Oscar. Prior to that he'd...read more

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This was Colman's eighteenth and final film for Goldwyn. Based on a 1905 best-seller, then a play, then a silent film which starred Guy Bates Post in 1922, THE MASQUERADER puts Colman, once again, in a dual role. (He probably played more dual roles than anyone, a practice that culminated

with A DOUBLE LIFE, for which he won an Oscar. Prior to that he'd done THE MAGIC FLAME and later THE PRISONER OF ZENDA in the two lead parts.) There's an angry session at England's Parliament, and Colman (as Sir John) is having a tough time handling his chores--mostly due to the fact that he is a

dope addict. He attempts to make a speech, but the words don't come out right. Afterward, he pushes past his pals, including his mistress, Compton, and staggers into the dank streets, where he runs into his identical cousin (also Colman). They pass the time of night for a few moments, then Colman

(Loder) tells Colman (Sir John) that if he ever needs someone to fill in for him, just call. Colman (Sir John) stumbles to Compton's residence with that thought in his mind. Later, Colman (Sir John) goes back to his own home, which he shares with his estranged wife, Landi. She's freshly returned

from France and he asks her if she's come home because she's run out of Parisian gigolos. He goes to his own room where his valet, Hobbes, helps him to bed. Hobbes is the only person who is aware that the peer is a junkie. The following day Colman (Sir John) goes to Colman's (Loder) house and

collapses, unable to move. Hobbes has been on his master's trail and pleads with Colman (Loder) to take the other's place at Parliament to make the speech that all of the other peers have been expecting. Colman (Loder) doesn't think he can handle it, but Hobbes spends some time teaching him about

his master's mannerisms until confidence arrives, and the speech is a sensation. Colman (Loder) has sent the peers into wild applause. Later, he goes to the mansion of the man he is pretending to be and must be careful to appear as though he knows exactly what he's doing because Hale and Torrence,

leaders of his party, are with him. There's a gala party that night and Colman (Loder) makes the error of believing that Compton is his wife. Hobbes stays close to Colman to help avoid errors and assures the man that this masquerade won't have to be continued for much longer. Hobbes tells Colman

(Loder) that Colman (Sir John) is civil to his own wife, Landi, but little more. Landi knows about Compton and tolerates the situation for the sake of propriety. Colman (Loder) finds himself attracted to Landi, and she, faced with a very different person, begins to love her "husband" all over

again. Compton can't believe the way Colman (Loder) has changed, so she hires a man to investigate this new attitude because she suspects that a double may have been employed. Meanwhile, Colman (Sir John) is recovering at his look-alike's apartment with Hobbes keeping tabs on him. The lord is

rapidly becoming disenchanted with the masquerade, so, despite Hobbes' pleadings, he gets himself in shape to attend a party. Compton is about to expose Colman (Loder) as a phony when Colman (Sir John) arrives and saves the day. She'd noticed that Colman (Loder) had a scar that she knew her lover

did not have. Colman (Sir John) returns to the other flat and Colman (Loder) decides that he has to give up his dream of loving Landi and come clean. Then Hobbes arrives and says that won't be necessary, Colman (Sir John) has died and Colman (Loder) must now walk in his cousin's shoes forever.

Faced with the deliciousness of Landi, that's no problem for Colman (Loder) and he heartily agrees. Landi had become ill just before the picture began and plans were made to replace her with Benita Hume (whom Colman married five years later), but she recovered in time for the job. Colman and

producer Goldwyn were at odds while this picture was being planned, as Goldwyn had been quoted as saying that Colman was a better actor when he drank and looked more interesting when he was debauched then when he was in good shape. This caused Colman to sue the producer for $2 million in libel

charges. After this movie came out, the suit apparently just sort of went away.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This was Colman's eighteenth and final film for Goldwyn. Based on a 1905 best-seller, then a play, then a silent film which starred Guy Bates Post in 1922, THE MASQUERADER puts Colman, once again, in a dual role. (He probably played more dual roles than an… (more)

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