Kay Francis and Frank Borzage

Frank Borzage’s back-to-back Kay Francis films of 1935, “Living on Velvet” and “Stranded,” may not be among his most fully realized works — “Velvet,” in particular, suffers from a clumsily imposed happy ending — but they make a lovely matched set. In both films, George Brent plays a typically disengaged Borzage hero — in “Living,” he’s distracted by grief, in “Stranded” by work — who is brought down to earth in one film, and elevated up to it in the other, by stronghearted women played by Kay Francis. In “Stranded,” she holds the perfect metaphorical job for a Borzage heroine: a Travelers Aid volunteer who directs lost souls to their proper destination.

Both films have been released by Warner Archive, along with Robert Florey’s 1933 period melodrama starring Francis, “The House on 56th Street.” All seem to be untouched television masters, littered with speckles and scratches, but at least they’re back in circulation. My New York Times review is here.

54 comments to Kay Francis and Frank Borzage

  • jean-pierre coursodon

    Mike: TUMBLEWEEDS was released December 27 1925 (with a New York premiere on December 20) according to the American Film Institute Catalog, which I tend to trust more than IMDB.Of course the term “release” is ambiguous. Although it’s supposed to mean the date of general distribution it is (was) sometimes applied to limited (first run) releases. Quite a headache for film historians!

  • Mike Grost

    Jaime,
    These are fascinating lists for 1924 and 1925. Lots of films I haven’t seen.

    A tiny few missing:
    Family Life (Robert P. Kerr) Obscure comedy short. Just hilarious and delightful. Who the heck is Robert P. Kerr, and did he do anything else this funny? This was part of a VHS collection of little known comedy shorts (Tons of Fun???)
    Symphonie Diagonale (Viking Eggeling) Early geometric abstraction. Still prestigious today.
    The Monster (Roland West) Nice horror film, full of West’s typical inventiveness. Shows up on TCM.

    PS It is great that Dreyer made a masterpiece with my name: Michael.
    Everyone else, eat your heart out!

  • Mike, thanks! I’ll add those ASAP.

    Everyone else, feel free to point out any omissions on my 1924 list:

    http://www.unexaminedessentials.com/2010/09/1924.html

  • Johan Andreasson

    A very late comment on the beautiful Swedish Borzage poster (just catching up on the last couple of weeks threads): It’s by the very prolific Eric Rohman. I don’t know more about him than that he lived between 1891 and 1949, but here at least are some more examples of his work:

    http://www.movieposterdb.com/artist/0000881/Eric-Rohman.html