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Monday, May 25, 2015

Video Beaverhausen: Maid of Salem with Claudette Colbert

The first thing to surprise us, watching the 1937 Maid of Salem, is that the video is released through Universal's Vault Series though it's a Paramount film. The other thing is how slow-going this movie is. It's all set-up! The storyline takes forever for all the plot incidences to become cohesive, so you may find your enthusiasm waning as it goes on... and on. As I did. And it only runs 90 minutes!

Also surprising is how tall, dark and handsome Fred MacMurray was back in the day. When he was on-screen, I couldn't take my eyes off him.

Not surprising is what a great movie star Claudette Colbert was. Again, she is a vivacious and moving actress, especially when pitted against all those glum character actors surrounding her throughout the film.

The film takes place in Salem, Massachuttes in its Puritanical immigrant days. The town was a major coastal port for merchant ships. With outdoor scenes apparently shot somewhere in northern California, the vistas remain stunning.

Of course, the theme of Maid of Salem is small-mindedness, the kind that got people burned at the stake. Hence, the perils of Paulette in this film. Worth watching -- once -- but I warn it will tax your patience.

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