Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gwili Andre in No Other Woman (RKO 1933)

When I wrote about Gwili Andre for my first book, Strangers in Hollywood (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1994) I managed to view both of the lady's starring films for RKO, Roar of the Dragon and Secrets of the French Police (both 1932) but I somehow failed to scare up a copy of her third, and final, appearance under this original contract, No Other Woman. As it turns out, I didn't miss much. Whereas Gwili in her first, leading, roles were obviously RKO's answer to Marlene Dietrich - what with exotic locales and heavy breathing scripts - in this co-starring role she was really more Tala Birell than Marlene Dietrich. And not even good Tala Birell at that. Frankly, Miss Andre (nee Gurli Andresen and hailing from Copenhagen) couldn't act her way out of a wet paper bag. That was true in 1933 as well as in 1943 when she made her final film, a Falcon mystery entry that had reunited her with RKO. But here is the big surprise: Gwili Andre, who prior to her brief starring career was publicized as "Amerca's most beautiful model," had a nose job in the meantime. Now this may sound catty - and is frankly meant to be - but Andre's much vaunted beauty leaves something to be desired. That original nose of hers appears in No Other Woman like a seafearing vessel at full sail. Irene Dunne, no shrinking violet herself when it came to a prominent proboscis, should really only have had to worry about Gwili Andre for the sake of plot; in reality she is prettier than Miss Andre and actually possesses a personality. What I am saying here is that No Other Woman ably demonstrates, if nothing else, why "Americas most beautiful model" didn't appear at all on screen between 1933 and 1937.

(Gwili Andre and leading man Charles Bickford in No Other Woman)

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