Paid to Love ★★½

Hawks to Bogdanovich: “I was just beginning to direct and was feeling around. It’s fun to invent those things—you think it’s something kind of new. A German director, F.W. Murnau, came over and started that, so we tried to go him some better….I don’t like tricks. I only tried that one time.” Despite this statement, Paid to Love is surprisingly classical save for maybe 5-6 shots. Hawks is still in romantic melancholy mode, which I’ve never found his forte. The first 15 minutes are almost all dialogue driven comedy (pretty frustrating in a silent film) before it finally picks up with the arrival of Virginia Valli on screen. It’s the first sequence between her and J. Farrell MacDonald that has some of Hawks’s most bold shots (a slow tracking shot of her arriving at his doorstep, a uniquely distorted POV shot!). But as the melodrama continues, I didn’t find it particularly endearing, though others I spoke with after found more to enjoy. YMMV.