THE SCOUNDREL (1935)
Article #662 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-6-2003
Posting Date: 6-5-2003
An unmitigated cad destroys the lives of those around him, but when he dies…
For those waiting around for the fantastic elements in the story, you’ve got a ways to go; they don’t manifest themselves until about three-quarters of the way through. Still, it was a little easier for me to be patient while accompanied by the likes of Noel Coward, Stanley Ridges, Alexander Woollcott, and especially Lionel Stander, one of the most distinctive character actors of all time. The real star, though, is the wonderful witty script by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, who also directs. The acidic humor in the dialogue goes a long way towards alleviating the fact that you’re dealing with a singularly unpleasant character throughout the movie, and since the ultimate message of the movie is pretty simple when you consider it, it’s a good thing getting there is half the fun. This is another example of some of the odd areas that an exploration of fantastic cinema can take you.