Day 11 – A Film By Your Favorite Director
I’ve written (or at least picked out the movies for) the remaining posts in this series now. I’ve worked out that there is, after today, only one more Frank Borzage movie coming up. I feel justified having 1/10th of this project be about Borzage because he is just that good. There’s a certain level of optimism in his films that is absent from the majority of films both today and in his time – his last directorial job came in 1961 but Moonrise in 1948 is considered his last great film. Magical dresses abound and the power of love usually conquers all. That’s not to say his films ignore reality. People die and lose their loved ones but the focus is always on the good rather than the bad. Today’s film is a sweet little love story where an injured WWI vet (the fantastic Charles Farrell) falls in love with a feisty younger woman (Janet Gaynor). They teach each other lessons about being good people and love and by the end the power of love is quite literally transcendent. The final ten minutes of this film are among the most beautiful I have ever seen and for that it is worth of this coveted spot on my list.
- These two actors also star in the more well known (relatively, of course) Borzage film 7th Heaven. That, too, is a great film but I don’t like it nearly as much as I do the intense melodrama of Lucky Star.
- Janet Gaynor had a real good shot at taking my favorite actress spot. I do like Margaret Sullavan better but it’s a close race. Gaynor’s more famous role in F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans won her an Oscar (along with her roles in 7th Heaven and Street Angel).
- Here’s a clip of some of the best scenes from three Borzage-Gaynor-Farrell films: 7th Heaven, Lucky Star, and Street Angel.