Sunday, January 29, 2006

Herbert Marshall and Lulu?

thoroughly modern Lulu - a favourite pic

After watching The Razor’s Edge, a somewhat overlong, occasionally stodgily directed 1946 film of Somerset Maugham’s long novel (I only know it was long because the DVD also featured a brief filming of Maugham handing over the brick of a book – though they called it a manuscript, which confuses me), I wondered about the actor who played the role of the novelist in the film. Herbert Marshall. The name struck a chord with me. Hadn’t Louise Brooks had an affair with an actor called Herbert Marshall in the twenties or thirties? Hadn’t she followed him across America, in pursuit of kicks, with film folk chasing her and dragging her back to Hollywood to serve out some film contract? It seemed unlikely. Herbert Marshall was perfectly cast as Maugham in The Razor’s Edge. Middle-aged, jowly and ponderous, he had all the sex appeal of a blunt razor - yet still he had the savoir faire to command a kiss on the lips from the lovely Gene Tierney.

Louise Brooks, though, in spite of her four hundred-odd sexual partners (her vague and probably unreliable reckoning) is another affair altogether.

The very British Herbert Marshall, who apparently did a great job in the Ernst Lubitsch film Trouble in Paradise (1932), actually had only one leg. He lost the other during the first world war. The first world war and the way it changed the life of the character Lawrence Darrell, played by Tyrone Power, was a major theme of The Razor’s Edge.

As far as I know, Herbert Marshall and Lulu never made a movie together. Maybe it was E G Marshall. No, of course it wasn't E G Marshall.



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