Saturday, March 14, 2015

Bolero (1934)


“Never mix business with pleasure.”

            Bolero is a film I had been looking forward to watching. I always look forward to watching any film Carole Lombard made because she was awesome. Also, George Raft I find oddly handsome. I had no idea what Bolero was about but of course I had to see it. Unfortunately it turned out to be a bore.
            The story begins in 1910 at a dancehall somewhere in America. At the dancehall on this particular night the place is holding an amateur dance show. The people are not normally performers who participate in this. One of the amateur dancers is Raoul De Baere (Raft). His dancing is terrible and he literally gets pulled off stage. Raoul is upset because he loves dancing it is all he wants to do. He tells his brother Mike that he feels he can be a great dancer if given the chance. Soon he becomes a dancer at a beer hall in Hoboken.
            Over time Raoul eventually makes his way to Paris. When Mike sees him Raoul is a taxi dancer at a restaurant being paid to dance with little old ladies. With some of Mike’s money Raoul is able to find a female dance partner named Leona and the two are a hit at a club in Montmartre. Leona is in love with Raoul and she becomes extremely jealous when he looks at pretty women in the audience. He is in no way in love with her, he cannot even stand her. After one show a young woman named Helen Hathaway (Lombard) comes into Raoul’s dressing room. Helen wants to dance with him. She tells Raoul he would not even have to carry her likehe does with Leona every night. At that moment Leona comes into the room proclaiming she refuses to dance that night. Helen sees this as her opportunity to step in. But before they can get on stage Mike comes in saying they might be sued and should leave for London as soon as possible to avoid getting in trouble. Raoul decides to taken Helen along with them and fire Leona.
Image result for Bolero 1934
            Raoul and Helen become a huge success. They are not really a couple they do not have any strong feelings for each other. Raoul, however becomes a little jealous when Helen talks about her admirer who is a lord. To get her away from her admirer Raoul takes Helen to Belgium where he was born. They spend a very nice weekend together.
Image result for Bolero 1934
Image result for Bolero 1934
            More time goes on and Raoul and Helen are now back in Paris. This time they dance in their own club. There are men and soldiers discussing the war that is looming. Raoul stops the dance he is in the middle of and claims that he will continue the dance once the war is over. He also announces that he will be fighting with the Belgians. The whole place erupts in applause and happiness over his news. Helen is even proud of him because she got to see a different side of his while they were away. Her happiness and pride in Raoul are short lived. He comes in and reveals that his little stunt was all a lie it was a way to get people to come to see them. He thinks the war will be over in a matter of weeks and then people will flock to see him dance again. Helen is furious with him and leaves.
            The war is not kind to Raoul. He was injured in such a way that his lungs and heart were severely weakened. Also Helen married her lord that had been chasing her.  Despite his weakened state he opens the club again and takes on a dancer he had once known. The dancer turns out to be unreliable one and shows up late and drunk. Raoul was going to perform by himself even though his body cannot handle it. Helen is in the audience. She asks her husband if it would be alright if she were to do their Bolero dance with Raoul just for that night. Her husband lets her. Raoul and Helen do their Bolero dance to thunderous applause.
Image result for Bolero 1934
Image result for Bolero 1934
WHOA PRE-CODE ALERT!
            As Helen is changing, Raoul stands at the door listening to the still cheering crowd. Suddenly Raoul falls to the floor grabbing his heart. Helen notices that Raoul is not responding to her question. When she goes into the room she finds him on the floor dead from his weakened lungs and heart.
            Seriously, Bolero was a bore. I was bored just writing up that summary. The ending was such crap. Carole Lombard and George Raft were not. I liked individually and as a screen couple. I wish they were given a better film to be in together. I only recommend watching Bolero if you really like Carole Lombard or George Raft otherwise it is not worth looking for.
 Image result for Bolero 1934