Becky Sharp Reviews
i believe everyone knows the sketchy lines of the story of vanity fair, the protagonist becky sharp is the social climber whose grits of life are admirable even she does have some despicable moments as she would do anything for survival. i love the beginning when becky throws the book at her spinster chaperon, and the movie ends with becky tossing the book toward her hypocritie relative. she feigns weeping to deceive her beau's straight-laced auntie and eavasdrops complacently outside the door with a cookie chewing in her mouth mischievously.(marvellous!) she does it so smoothly that you don't feel it's acting....really i cannot picture anyone who possesses enough chearful light-heartedness and snickering cynicism simultaneously to do justice of a character like becky sharp as miriam hopkins does. when actresses are bright and light-hearted, they tend to whitewash and lighten the picture without enough sarcasm, for example: audrey hepburn or shirley maclaine, or the picture turns out to be screwball comedy with carole lombard or katherine hepburn....or when they're great deliverer of mockery and sarcasm, there seems to be too much hard-boiled bitterness in them then the picture ends up something like noir comedy, for example: bette davis, joan crawford and lots of 40s noir icons like jane greer....my point is, only miriam hopkins could pull off these two contrary qualities and let this dichotomy co-exist harmoniously. only miriam hopkins could! i suppose that makes her unique! she makes you feel she IS becky sharp when you finish watching this movie, and you cannot picture anyone else in the same shoes.
(my minor complaint is..reese witherspoon's adaption of vanity fair is the worst adaption i've ever seen even she's no bad actress...but it feels like some american girl fakes to be a character in 19th century britain and tries to turn this character into a sultry vamp like american film noir...it doesn't feel like comedy and far far far from noir)
as for the technical level, what lessens the picture a little would be its over-saturation of colors, yes, i realize it's after all a vanity fair, and it's supposed to be "colorful" and glamourous, but to some point, you feel the nuance on the palette has been blurred into a slight mess. the backset stereo does sound jarringly coarse in some parts of the movie. i suppose, it's 1930s, there're still lots of technical issues to work on in a time when audience found color picture still a daring deed like today's 3D.