The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Fortnight: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, December 24-January 6

12/24/2014 1:00 PM |


Careless Lady (1932)
Directed by Kenneth MacKenna
The actress Joan Bennett possessed a skill for playing at innocence. Her classical Hollywood-era heroines would often greet men with a look of seeming confusion that she used to either draw them forward or keep them away, depending upon how much she needed them. The tension in her films inevitably arose over how long she could sustain her charade before her mask would drop and leave exposed the true depths of her naïveté. The pre-Code comedy Careless Lady came out the year Bennett turned 22 and gave her an early, impactful role as a young woman named Sally Brown who decides that she can’t move forward in life without showing the world that she’s experienced. To this end, she steals the name of a wealthy man that she met in a speakeasy and goes to Paris to pass for his wife. When the charming fellow himself (played by John Boles) arrives in town and tries to learn from her what’s going on, she acts surprised, and then defiant—and then, perhaps, something else. Aaron Cutler (Dec 31-Jan 3, 1:30pm at MoMA’s “Acteurism”)