Friday, November 30, 2012

159. The Man in Grey (1943)

Running Time: 111 minutes
Directed By: Leslie Arliss
Written By: Leslie Arliss, Margaret Kennedy
Main Cast: Margaret Lockwood, James Mason, Phyllis Calvert, Stewart Granger, Harry Scott
Click here to view the trailer


Expect an onslaught of reviews to be rapidly fired your way between tonight, tomorrow and Sunday morning, as I wrap up the sixth season of my "1001 Movies I (Apparently) Must See Before I Die" project and move one step closer to my ultimate goal of 1001 movies watched.

"The Man in Grey" is told in flashback style and begins at a boarding school for girls, where a new teacher, Hesther Shaw (Lockwood), arrives.  In the beginning, Ms. Shaw and popular pupil Clarissa (Calvert) don't get along, but after a while, they settle their differences and become best friends. After a while, Ms. Shaw leaves the school to marry a man named Barbary and soon after, Clarissa also departs the school, later marrying Lord Rohan a.k.a. the Man in Grey (Mason). Clarissa and Lord Rohan don't get along, nor do they love each other and it is admitted by Rohan that the only reason he married Clarissa, was so he could have an heir. After Clarissa bears him a son, Lord Rohan and Clarissa seldom see one another, nor does she even see much of her son, as Lord Rohan keeps him secluded most of the time. Later, Clarissa meets back up with Hesther and asks her to move into her and Rohan, in London. Hesther obliges and though he is reluctant at first, once Rohan lays eyes on the gorgeous Hesther Shaw (now Hesther Barbary, although she's split from her husband) he gives in. Is is here that Hesther becomes more wicked, as she plans to steal Lord Rohan away from Clarissa, which is initiated when they begin an affair. Meanwhile, Clarissa begins falling in love with a man named Rokeby (Granger), an actor and explorer.

THE BOOK admits that the plot to "The Man in Grey" is very forgettable and that the only reason it was chosen for inclusion was because of it's fabulous art design, noting that the crew were able to resurrect Regency period England. That very well may be, however, it seems like a weak reason to label a film as "must see" material. I'm sure that when I reach the end of my journey, I'll barely remember "The Man in Grey", as it is quite the forgettable little tale. In fact, the only positive thing I took away from the production was the brilliant acting, and of course you're going to get brilliant acting when James Mason is involved. He's a man that, while I'm not a fan of many of the movies he stars in, is always reliable for a fantastic performance; an actor who truly becomes his character and plays him to perfection. However, the true star of the picture, for me, was Margaret Lockwood; a standout discovery for me and someone who made the screen shine when she appeared on it. Actually, I didn't care for Phyllis Calvert at all and found myself rooting for Margaret Lockwood to come out on top, even though I knew she wouldn't. If nothing else, I'll be able to note "The Man in Grey" for introducing me to her, as I hope to seek out and watch more of her films. Other than that, I really don't have much else to add to this review. "The Man in Grey" was a VERY random choice and something that I can safely tell you IS NOT a must see!

RATING: 3/10  I'll give it three notches for the performances of Lockwood and Mason, but that's about as high as it gets on this one.


November 30, 2012  10:48pm

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