The Forgotten: James Whale's "By Candlelight" (1933) and "The Road Back" (1937)

One of the quirks of Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna's annual jamboree celebrating restored or rediscovered movies, is that expensive products of the Hollywood studio system can be just as obscure and hard-to-see as low-budget oddities, foreign arthouse affairs and forgotten silents from a hundred years ago. Dave Kehr's retrospective of neglected items from Universal's vaults demonstrates this clearly.James Whale always liked to say By Candlelight was his favorite of his own films, bypassing the more celebrated Frankenstein films. It's a romantic comedy of confused identities and it's no surprise that P.G. Wodehouse had a hand in the stage source.But in this movie, when a butler impersonates his master in order to seduce a wealthy lady who turns out to be a maid impersonating her mistress, all the irony of Wodehouse's inversion of traditional ideas about class has gone. All right, so George Orwell argued persuasively that Wodehouse
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