Movie Information

In Brief: Frank Lloyd's 1933 film adaptation of Noel Coward's stage play won Oscars (best picture and best director) and was one of the big prestige pictures of its year. Today, the luster of this time-spanning (1899-1932) ode to the British character has dimmed considerably. It is, however, a worthy film that ought to be better known, and its restoration and Blu-ray incarnation is easily the best way to get acquainted (or re-acquainted) with the picture.
Genre: Drama
Director: Frank Lloyd
Starring: Diana Wynyard, Clive Brook, Una O'Connor, Herbert Mundin
Rated: NR

Frank Lloyd’s Cavalcade (1933) last showed locally in 2006. It’s been brought back by the Hendersonville Film Society, owing to its recent restoration and appearance on Blu-ray. There’s no denying it looks better — probably as good as we’ll ever see it — but it’s equally impossible to deny that Cavalcade is more important from an historical standpoint than purely as entertainment. When it showed in 2006, I wrote: “Seeing Cavalcade for the first time since I was in high school, I was immediately struck that this best-picture Oscar winner from 1933 is a testament to the unkindness of time. Almost no one remembers the film today. Its director, Frank Lloyd (who also won the Oscar), was a big noise in his day, his movie receiving the coveted billing of ‘A Frank Lloyd Production’ (the 1930s equivalent of ‘A Film by’), yet he’s all but forgotten now, as are the film’s stars, Diana Wynyard (Oscar-nominated for her performance) and Clive Brook. Cavalcade is an impressive work with an impressive cast, but I could name a dozen far-better-remembered films from 1933. Yesterday’s prestige picture is often — rightly or wrongly — just yesterday’s news. Still, it’s nice, as with Lloyd’s film, to be reminded that sometimes yesterday’s news is worth looking at again. Indeed, Cavalcade plays better for me now than it did when I saw it 30-odd years ago on the late show.”

Full review is here.

The Hendersonville Film Society will show Cavalcade Sunday, Sept. 15, at 2 p.m., in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community (behind Epic Cinemas), 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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