Film for a Friday: The Scoundrel (1935)


Yes, the end of grading is in sight! Here’s an entertainment for you that manages to be both tart and sweet — or possibly leaning over into sappy a bit by the end. However, the script by Ben Hecht and Charles McArthur positively sings at its best — especially since the best of those lines are delivered by Noel Coward (as above). Here’s part of the synopsis at TCM:

Publisher Anthony Mallare is a heartless philanderer and intellectual and is surrounded by a snobbish group of literati who cater to his brilliance but slander him behind his back. When a philosopher named Slazack kills himself after Tony refuses to publish his work, Tony calls the suicide a “foolish effort to call attention to bad writing.” Tony then takes a beautiful young poet, Cora Moore, under his wing. They fall in love and she abandons her suitor, Captain Paul Decker, who sees Tony for the Don Juan he is. Paul tries to shoot Tony, but hits only his cigarette case. Tony, unruffled, calls Paul’s act an affair of “honor” and refuses to press charges. When Tony and Cora have their fortunes told…

cYou can watch The Scoundrel here. Obviously the very suited to Coward, who’s joined on screen by the Alexander Woollcott, as well as by Hecht and McArthur in cameos near the end. The character is said to be based on Horace Liveright, founder the Modern Library series and was responsible for producing Dracula on the stage in 1927 starring Béla Lugosi, who of course went on to fame and string-pulling.