In this edition of Nate’s Double Features we will be looking at two romantic films from different eras; Frank Borzage’s Lucky Star (1929) and Patrice Leconte’s The Hairdresser’s Husband (1990). Both directors are delirious in their expression of romantic love, but only one of them has a moral center.
No director of the silent era did romance better than Frank Borzage. At the height of his powers while working at Fox, Borzage partnered with Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell to create a string of popular and beloved romances, with 7th Heaven being the most recognizable. But it was with Lucky Star (a title that has absolutely nothing to do with the film it represents) that Borzage finally found the most potent mix of pacing and emotional directness. Lucky Star doesn’t have the visual splendor of many of Borzage’s other films, but it is far more effective as a tearjerker. It also drops the elements of fate that are present in 7th Heaven and Street Angel in favor of something more Earthy. Despite it’s melodramatic underpinnings, Lucky Star is dead serious about romance in ways that few films then or now would even begin to approach. Continue reading