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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Blogging the Hulu Plus Criterion Collection: Anne-Marie


Well you can't please everyone. I'm sure there's some reason Anne-Marie was included in the Criterion Collection but that reason isn't apparent to me. This is my least favorite of the Criterion Collection that I've seen so far. I'd watch Age of the Medici again before I sat through this one.

Part of the reason is I did have some expectations here. I'd never heard of director Raymond Bernard before and I'm not that excited about checking out his other work. But the screenplay was by Antoine de Saint-Exupery who wrote The Little Prince. You'd expect something more than just a programmer from a guy like that. But that's what Anne-Marie is, a programmer.

Anne-Marie tells the story of a young female engineer who wants to become a pilot. A group of experienced pilots take her under their wing. But when her romance with an inventor gets in the way of her studies, her mentors devise a way to pry the two apart. It's a real accomplishment to take an idea that inherently feminist and still manage to come across as sexist. Anne-Marie can do anything the boys can do as long as it isn't really hard. At least that's the impression I took away. But the problem isn't just the sexual politics. I called it a programmer and that's what it is. Years and years ago my local PBS station used to run something Matinee at the Bijou. They used to play movies from the 1930s that even TCM stayed away from them. You could count the number of sets on one hand with fingers to spare. And the stories were tame. As bad as things got everything would be right with the world in little over an hour. Maybe I'm being a little unfair to this movie but that's what this is in its heart and soul.

The lead is played by Annabella who would costar with James Cagney a decade later in 13 Rue Madeleine and she is radiant in this film. That's really the only thing I can recommend about this one.

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