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A Notorious Affair

(1930 b 67')

En: 4 Ed: 5

Based on a play by Audrey and Waverly Carter, a woman from high society marries a nervous violinist, and each considers having an affair.

In Surrey, England Countess Olga Balakireff (Kay Francis) impresses men with her riding skill, but Lord Northmore (Philip Strange) took a fall. In London Paul Gherardi (Basil Rathbone) plays violin in his studio for Patricia (Billie Dove) and kisses her. Northmore toasts his absent fiancé Patricia; but she arrives and introduces Paul to him as her husband. Patricia's father Thomas Hanley (Montagu Love) is angry. Their high society guests snub Paul except Olga likes him. Hanley warns Patricia that she will be cut off from society. Olga listens to Christmas carolers and criticizes her butler Higgins. Paul and Patricia are happy together. Paul plays music with Sergei for Olga and becomes successful, mobbed by fans. Patricia sees Paul look at Olga. Patricia sews on a button for Paul, who asks if she is jealous. Paul is nervous, and Patricia does not sit in her box; but Olga watches him play. Paul and Olga go to her party. Paul plays for Olga in her boudoir, but he feels dizzy. Paul kisses her hand and leaves. Paul is brought home to Patricia by an ambulance after fainting. Dr. Allen Pomroy (Kenneth Thompson) comes in and greets his friend Patricia. Allen tells her that Paul is on the verge of a nervous breakdown and must stop playing.

Later in France Olga asks Paul not to play, but he says he must practice. Hanley visits Patricia in west London and asks her to come home. Allen calls on Patricia and kisses her. Patricia gets a telegram that Paul was stricken and can never play again. Patricia and Allen go to help Paul. Patricia serves the paralyzed Paul, who says she is waiting for Allen. Paul says he will always be between them. Patricia tells Allen that Paul does not want to get well. Paul tells Allen to go away and not come back. Allen says good-bye to Patricia. As Allen and Patricia walk out, Paul gets up to watch and then plays violin. Patricia asks how long ago he recovered. Paul says that Patricia is free to go. He says he tried to hold her with pity; but Patricia says he could have done it with love, and they kiss.

The performance of Billie Dove adds luster to this drama about a high-strung violinist whose whole being seems disturbed by his or his wife's adultery.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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