Bed of Roses

Bed of Roses ★★★★

A charming and mysterious pre-code romance directed by Gregory La Cava, who was always right at home directing these sorts of stories about down-and-out people trying to set themselves on the right path (and then learning that the "right path" is an elusive concept). The movie's dockside setting makes for such dynamic visuals - moody and fog-shrouded compositions that seem the exact opposite of the passionate, highly physical romance that's developing between the two main characters. And yet, the mise en scene complements the story in interesting ways, since there's something off-kilter and even kind of mythic in the way that Constance Bennett meets, falls in love with, and has her life changed by Joel McCrea - for starters, their courtship begins with McCrea throwing Bennett into the sea.

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