Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Funnies - The Private Life of Don Juan (1934)

Ah, getting older. Sometimes it's not easy to accept. Especially for celebrities, it seems. Look at all the money that is spent each year by famous folk still trying to maintain the image of youth. Are they doing for themselves, out of vanity? Or are they doing it because we, as their public, don't want them to change from the image of them that we hold in our hearts? Of course, growing older is something that simply can't be avoided, and with it can come changes that simply can't be denied. Hair loss, weight gain, lack of movement - all of these can be byproducts of the aging process. And all oof them can change not only the public's perception of us, but our perception of ourselves.

Still, aging is something that cannot be avoided (well, in this life, at least). And that's true even if one is a well-known lothario with a reputation for smoothness and virility among the women. And that's the situation our protagonist finds himself in today. Don Juan is a man well known for his charisma with the ladies. He's also a man whose reputation has sparked a number of impersonators claiming to be the famous lover. he's also a man becoming tired of trying to live up to his reputation, so when one of those impersonators is killed, the true Don Juan also takes the opportunity to retire.

Of course, when a person has become accustomed to fame, it can be hard to figure out how to carry on without it. Eventually finding that the only lover he can get now is a scullery maid, Don Juan has has enough. However, reclaiming his fame when he has grown older and no longer looks like the dashing young man the public imagines him to be may be beyond the prowess of even this legendary lover.

This was Douglass Fairbanks Sr.'s last film, and in some ways brings his legend full circle as well as that of the character he is portraying. One can certainly feel that this is a bit more than just a role to the now 51-year-old Fairbanks who, like his filmic counterpart, may no longer have the physical moves to play some of the roles he once did, still has an actor's heart and soul, and he definitely brings them to this role.

Instead of a trailer today, I'm going to give you part one of a documentary on the life of Douglas Fairbanks Sr. The documentary was produced by Delta Entertainment with the assistance of the Douglas Fairbanks Museum. It runs about 90 minutes and was released by the museum on Youtube, and is also available on DVD from the museum. It's definitely interesting viewing, and I encourage you to click on through and watch the rest.

And now, the Skinny:
Title: The Private Life of Don Juan
Release Date: 1934
Running Time: 89min
Black and White
Starring: Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. , Merle Oberon
Directed by: Alexander Korda
Produced by: Alexander Korda
Distributed by: United Artists:

The Private Life of Don Juan is available to watch or download for free here.
It's available for purchase on DVD from Amazon as part of this collection: Eclipse Series 16 - Alexander Korda's Private Lives (The Private Life of Henry VIII / The Rise of Catherine the Great / The Private Life of Don Juan / Rembrandt) (Criterion Collection).

The same collection is also available for rental from Netflix: The Private Life of Don Juan

Until next time, Happy Treasure Hunting,
-Professor Damian


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