Merrily We Go to Hell
+ intro by author and film journalist Helen O’Hara
Dorothy Arzner’s portrait of the determinedly ‘modern’ marriage of an heiress and an alcoholic writer mixes melodrama with social satire.
Sylvia Sidney, Fredric March, Adrienne Allen, Cary Grant
USA 1932. 78min
Chronicling the troubled marriage of an heiress (Sidney) and a journalist-cum-struggling-playwright (March) who has a serious problem with alcohol, Arzner’s film blends social satire and melodrama in exploring certain contemporary attitudes towards the question of monogamous commitment. True to form, Arzner portrays the male characters as weak and immature, while stressing the heiress’s independence and strength of will.