Friday, January 21, 2011

Joseph Anthony - The Matchmaker (1958)

Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker is a rarity, a farce with heart. Because of their reliance on fast pacing, complicated plotting and characters that are usually types rather than fully formed people, even the best farces tend to skimp on warmth. But there's a sentimental, sometimes melancholy little melody that keeps sounding underneath the cacophony that accompanies Wilder's boisterous goings-on, and it's a welcome addition. Matchmaker is made even warmer by the presence of the charming Shirley Booth in the title role; she mixes a good dose of motherliness into her interpretation of the meddlesome, troublemaking Dolly. The character loses a bit in power as a result, but that loss is made up for by what it gains in appeal. Booth's interpretation seems right in line with director Joseph Anthony's take on the piece, which has a surprising gentleness and sense of nostalgia while still maintaining its comedic edge. The piece's staginess, especially in its use of characters addressing the camera directly, will turn some off, but it's handled effectively. Beyond Booth, the cast is also expert, with Paul Ford appropriately blustering and Anthony Perkins and Shirley MacLaine sweetly appealing. Though not a great film, Matchmaker is pleasant whimsy -- and superior to the film of its musical version, Hello, Dolly. --Craig Butler, AllMovieGuide

audio#1: English | Dolby AC3 | 2 ch | ~192 Kbps; audio#2: Russian | MP3 | 2 ch | ~256 Kbps
no pass