Go!: Film Spectatorship in 1935 According to The Good Fairy

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A lovely illustration of how Hollywood conceptualised, represented and satirised film spectatorship in 1935. Margaret Sullavan, just out of the orphanage, already enveloped in a cloud  of romantic longings formed by fairy tales, is an usherette at Budapest’s Dream Palace, her first job. Reginald Owen is a viewer who will turn out to be her ‘good fairy’. Both are enraptured by the mannered, melodramatic and repetitive drivel they see onscreen. We understand why they are so involved. We also understand why others are not, and why they leave at a moment in the narrative before they arrive, i.e. why they might want to leave before seeing the whole thing. Fredric Molnar, who wrote the original play, and Preston Sturges, who adapted it, make for a lovely sweet and sour combination, all directed by William Wyler with great delicacy and respect for both his subjects and his audience.

José Arroyo

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