The Affairs of Cellini (1934)

Comments Off on The Affairs of Cellini (1934) 13 November 2014

affairs dvd

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Theatrical Release: August 24, 1934

DVD Release: July 22, 2014

Director: Gregory La Cava

Not Rated

Review by James Klein

I must admit, The Affair of Cellini is not the kind of film I would normally watch. A romantic comedy made in the early 1930’s and set during the 16th century…yeah I can feel my eyes already begin to close. However, the film stars Fredric March and Fay Wray so that immediately intrigued me. The star of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde along side the star of King Kong…and wait, is that Frank Morgan, the Wizard in The Wizard of Oz? Ok, you got me, I’m in.

The Affairs of Cellini starts off with The Duke of Florence (Morgan) being surrounded by his squires and noblemen as he listens to a man whose daughter was seduced by the local sculptor Cellini (March). While the father is very upset by this blatent disrespect, the daughter blurts out that she welcomes Cellini to jump over their wall and talk to her anytime he wants. When she reads the poem that Cellini read to her, it captures the attention of The Duchess (Constance Bennett) who can’t help but also be smitten by the romantic Cellini.

affairs of cellini

While The Duke summons Cellini to be hanged, Cellini is off trying to seduce the lovely Angela (Wray) until her hideous bearded mother puts a stop to it. When the Duke and his men come for Cellini, he is able to con his way out by offering his blacksmith services to The Duke. But it’s Angela who the Duke takes a liking to, taking her back to his castle.

the affairs of cellini

While Cellini plots his way into the castle to which The Duke is secretly trying to seduce Angela, he comes across The Duchess whose alone in her room. The two rather quickly fall for one another, even though they both play hard to get. When Cellini does escape with Angela, the two lovers quickly find out that they are nothing alike and can’t stand to be around one another, both wishing to be back with The Duke and The Duchess.

affairs cellini

Basically, The Affairs of Cellini is a sitcom-style period piece. While very predictable, the film does offer a few laughs such as the remarks and comments about Angela’s ugly mother. Morgan is a hilarious performer and he steals the movie as the bumbling Duke anytime he is on the screen (he was nominated an Academy Award for this role). His sleep-walking scene where he tries to fool The Duchess into thinking he was asleep when he was with Angela is rather funny. If the film played up the slapstick and humor and focused less on the Capra-esque romance, the movie would have been a real winner. But alas, it’s just a time waster. A film that is fine but forgotten within an hour.

the affairs cellini

The picture looks decent enough and presented in the original 4:3 full frame ratio. The opening credits along with the 20th Century Fox logo has some minor print damage but otherwise the picture looks ok, a bit soft most of the time but for a film made 80 years ago, I can’t really complain. While I usually have a hard time hearing the dialog in a lot of early sound films, the dialog in The Affairs of Cellini is pretty clear and perfectly audible. There are, however, no special features.


Overall, it was nice to see Wray perform well in a comedy and March who is always excellent (try and seek out the 1951 version of Death of a Salesman, my personal favorite with him) play off the very funny Morgan, The…wait, what movie are we talking about? I forgot…oh yeah The Affairs of Cellini is…a cute film..I guess. I can’t remember.

Movie and DVD Rating: ★★½☆☆



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