The Best Old Movie on a Big Screen This Week: January 21-27

01/21/2015 11:00 AM |

© Copyright 2013 CorbisCorporation

I Am Suzanne! (1933)
Directed by Rowland V. Lee
This pre-Code Hollywood film about Parisian theater artists has recently been restored in 35mm and is receiving a weeklong run at MoMA. Its characters state the film’s title phrase four different times. The first two “I am Suzanne”’s come from the lips of the Baron (played by Leslie Banks), a possessive older man demanding to speak for the female dancer he manages. The third utterance comes from Tony (Gene Raymond), a lovestruck young puppeteer who wants to claim the girl for himself. The fourth comes when Suzanne (Lilian Harvey) cries out in her own defense against the thought of anyone controlling her. In between and around these moments occur several musical numbers, some brought to life by human dancers and singers and others by wooden dolls operated by artists from the Yale Puppeteers and Podrecca’s Piccoli Theater. The puppets perform so vividly that they sometimes compete with their flesh-and-blood counterparts, including in a nightmare that Suzanne has of being tried in a puppets’ court for attacking a marionette made by her beloved Tony in her likeness—motive jealousy. Aaron Cutler (Jan 26-Feb 1 at MoMA, showtimes daily)