Sunday, 8 May 2011

Best Actor 1931: Fredric March in The Royal Family of Broadway

Fredric March received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Tony Cavendish in The Royal Family of Broadway.

The Royal Family of Broadway is a poor film because it does not really decide what it wants to be, it could have been a screwball comedy about a crazy parody of the Barrymore family, which it is part of the time, but it also is most of the time drama about deciding whether to keep with the family's acting tradition or to change for love, that majority side is boring.

Fredric March's performance is the whole of the screwball section of the film, and therefore is the best, and only good part of the film. He plays an insane parody of John Barrymore in Tony Cavendish. March is in an odd place in this film because it is a film with straight characters and he is the only one who is not. His performance is just about entirely comedic, without only a few brief moments when he is not acting insane.

It is rather interesting to see this performance because it is parody of the hammy over the top performances of this period, meaning this is a hammy over the top performance, except it is suppose to be funny rather than serious. I also think March although stays in character, does give off the right idea that he clearly knows what he is doing in the role, and that it definitely is suppose to be a parody.

I like what he did being a completely egomaniac who never stops acting, even with his family around. Also walking with this perfect pompous walk that is just right for the role, as well as always acting like he is a larger than life constantly. March throws himself completely in every scene, and never stops. He has a few moments where he becomes sad over his mother being sick, but even in those March plays them in a comedic fashion, acting like a little kid.

Now the most important question is he funny. Well I will say his performance never quite made me laugh too much, but I enjoyed watching his performance nevertheless. I think though that the film is constantly working against his performance unfortuantely. No one is really working with his comedic pieces, and instead they stay serious and in their own boring stories. Also the film just needed even more of him, and frankly should have been built around him. Overall I liked this performance but the rating troubles me. When I think of the film I say 3.5, but when I think of his performance I think of 4, so I guess I will think of his performance last.


Turtle Muppet Puppet said...

To tell you the truth, I don't give a damn about how well Freddie portrayed John Barrymore in some old movie, but I do respect the man's skill and good looks. I especially enjoyed his role in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde only a few years after this film.

Turtle's BFF said...

I agree. He is a fox.