Best of… Series – 1933 – Man’s Castle

Man’s Castle (Frank Borzage, 1933)

Yet again, and somewhat similar to his film 7th Heaven, Borzage shows the ability to feature a fantastic romantic relationship, but struggles to keep the momentum throughout. Man’s Castle centers around the relationship of two homeless New Yorkers. He is outspoken, willing to do anything (including taking a job as a clown on stilts, and playing on a baseball team of midgets), and slightly verbally abusive. She is shy, dependent, but extremely loving, and the two make a great pair. The first 1/4 of the film shows them meeting and forming a bond, and it’s perfect. The dialogue and their interactions are natural, and I couldn’t help feeling like I wanted to be around these people, despite their flaws.

Unfortunately, Borzage tries to shove a little too much in this 70-minute film. There is the temptation of cheating, a pregnancy, a wedding, a robbery, and a climax all in the last half. Borzage seems to be the most successful when he keeps it simple, and I wish there would have been more of that. Regardless, the events still flow rather smoothly, and it doesn’t do enough harm to keep me from really liking this. The film does have a solid conclusion, and left me smiling.  8.5/10

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