Unfaithfully Yours (1948)

Directed by Preston Sturges

Before he left for a brief European visit, symphony conductor Sir Alfred De Carter casually asked his staid brother-in-law August to look out for his young wife, Daphne, during his absence. August has hired a private detective to keep tabs on her. But when the private eye's report suggests Daphne might have been canoodling with his secretary, Sir Alfred begins to imagine how he might take his revenge.

"Hey, man, why can't you separate the art from the artist and let the Great Conductor envisage murdering his wife on the merest hint she was unfaithful to you?"

I put this on hoping for a light (but cerebral) screwball comedy to finish off the week, so I was quite shocked with what I got instead. The sudden changes of tone, especially to those of imagined violence, had a kind of pulp, B-movie quality to them, which is no doubt part of the film's deliberate metatextual project. Still, the places it goes at times...

I can't imagine this being made before WW2, even if Sturges genuinely had the original idea long before. Similar to the pulp quality previously touched upon, I suspect the sound effects are actually deliberately 'off' — indeed, many aspects of the movie are clearly aimed at a sophisticated, movie-literate audience that surely know how a sound effect is meant to sound, elevating these versions to a kind of camp. Anyway, the idiosyncrasies of the "great man" schtick was worn pretty thin by the end, especially when reading about Rex Harrison himself being, how can I put it, a bit of shit in real life.