Douglas Fairbanks was one of the first male superstars of motion pictures. During the first years of movies he played the parts of heroes like Zorro, Robin Hood and other athletic and heroic parts. He became so famous that when he married equally famous Mary Pickford in 1920, they encountered crowds of thousands during their honeymoon in London and Paris. They couldn’t even walk down a European street without being mobbed by adoring fans.
By the time sound was added to moving pictures, Douglas Fairbanks was in his middle years, and younger men were taking the romantic leading-man roles. In 1934, at the age of fifty-one, the veteran actor accepted the leading role in this story about the famous Spanish lover Don Juan.
Now, you might be thinking that an older man, just five years from his death, might want to act like the dashing young athletic man of his earlier movies, but he showed he great sense of who he was by acting like an old man with a wild past. Douglas Fairbanks was smart enough, and a good-enough actor, to embrace being the butt of jokes as he tries to convince the young women that he is indeed the sizzling hot Spanish lover that melted every woman’s heart a few years ago.
His great sense of tragic comedy, . . . His ability to realistically be a man who was a legend, but has now become just one more old man, is an amazing showcase for his true talent. But as he grows into the realization that the man every woman wanted to love is now laughed at, he finally learns about true love. The one woman who loved him as a young playboy, and still loves him as the man he is, is still waiting for him to finally grow up and settle down. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Director: Alexander Korda
Stars: Charles Laughton, Robert Donat, Franklin Dyall