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Blushing Brides is Talisman
by W. E. Oliver
Originally appeared in the Los Angeles Evening Herald, August 2, 1930
"Third Time's the charm," Joan Crawford said brightly.
She was commenting on Our Blushing Brides, which is current at the Criterion. This comedy-drama of hymeneal embarrassment is the third of a trilogy she has played for MGM.
If you are a Joan Crawford fan--and there's no earthly reason why you shouldn't be--you'll remember the others: Our Dancing Daughters, and Our Modern Maidens.
In each one of these pictures she plays the girl who after a stimulatory period of uncertainty is happily married, while tragedy has clouded the romances played by Dorothy Sebastian and Anita Page, the two other girls in each picture.
So, "third time's the charm," brightly says Joan.
To indulge ourselves a state of mind the pragmatical ones called mysticism, we might deduce some sort of relationship between these roles and her real life.
Her marriage to Douglas Fairbanks Jr., is regarded with affection and pride in Hollywood, which takes the marital state in others very seriously.
The day I walked through the little postern gate, over the flagged courtyard of their Brentwood home, to interview Joan for the second time, they had been married exactly 13 months. And they were having a dinner party that night.
Even the door-knocker for this cottage-by-the-sea is a symbol of connubial bliss. It is made up of two cherubic brass heads, resting lip to lip. When you raise one of them and let it fall, the reverberations of that brazen kiss tinkle all through the house.
Under the romantic auspices of these diminutive, curly-headed Penates, Joan and her husband live an ideal life. Not bliss in the fictionalized account of things, but an existence apparently built on lasting matters. Their story comes after the last page of the romance which usually ends on the wedding bells. And it is really a fine one.
Joan's talents for making a home have been recorded at other times. Her own hands made up her curtains. She and Doug have searched through all manner of shops for each piece of English furniture. Their household effects are compounded out of beauty and comfort. A great relief, I assure you, from the barren glitter often found in many Hollywood palace.
Joan saw me looking at her chintz covers--I presume it is chintz--and said: "Maybe I have too many colors in this room. Yes, I'm sure of it. But you have to learn such things. And anyway, we are collecting all of this for the English cottage Doug and I will build as soon as we have the actual money to build it with."
HAS GLISTENING TABLE
In her dining room she has a long, glistening dark table. It was being laid with cut glass, silverware and a snow white tablecloth. It gave the place an air. You could almost imagine redcoated men and immaculately garbed women coming into it from an afternoon at hunting.
There's also a long room, with walls of French windows facing an inside garden. It has shelf running around it crammed with thousands of dolls. Doug's drawing board and typewriter are there, with comfortable chairs and handy tables around. Hamlet, Joan's Great Dane, joyously yelped and sprang against the screens as we walked in.
Here is where Joan does her needlework and Doug illustrates his verses. Up in Joan's boudoir, where the tones of pink and old lace are dominant, she has the original manuscripts of Doug's verses, with several play scenarios and the collected copies of magazines which have printed his work.
I read his well-known epigrammatic character sketch of Charles Chaplin. I also read some of his verses. Some of them give fugitive glimpses of that carefully guarded inner man--hidden perforce in Hollywood, where the emotions of her famous ones are snapped up in celluloid or illustrated in tabloid photographs.
Sitting in the cool, thickwalled living room, Joan confessed she wants to do something different.
"If I have to do any more three-girl dancing daughter stories, I'll kick somebody," she declared.
LIKES PLASTIC THINGS
"Instead of picking up a clump of something solid in your hand"--and she illustrated it--"it's like holding a handful of sand. I need something to mold. That's the role I want, and I'm going to do it."
"Suppose your public won't let you?" I asked.
"I think they will--but I'll do it anyway. Of course, it can't be anything. It must be a character strong enough to warrant a definite switch."
"Well, I like the drab. I like to play human beings in the gutter. But when I express my idea of a marvelous story, everybody goes 'Ugh!"
It's time that Blushing Brides continues the parallel of her real-life romance. And, as Joan says, "third time's the charm." But whatever stories Hollywood decides on in the future, let's hope it is nothing we will say "Ugh!" over.
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