As longtime readers of this blog (Hi, Mom!) will know, I’m not particularly bright. This is why I spent a healthy portion of Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench asking, “What’s going on now?”
See, here’s the deal: the movie begins with Guy and Madeline on a park bench. They appear to be breaking up. An intertitle comes up, saying “Some time earlier,” or something to that effect. Guy and Madeline, a pale brunette, are together. Then Guy’s with some other pale brunette. Is this different actress portraying a different aspect of Madeline’s personality? Is this Guy’s next girlfriend? The girlfriend before? What’s going on?
I literally had no idea. All I knew is that I was watching a 16mm, B&W film with a great jazz soundtrack and some good song ‘n dance numbers that suffered from being overenunciated (Madeline, tell your voice coach to get bent and sing like a human being. At least, I think that was Madeline. It could have been the other pale brunette.). Was it original? Yeah. Was it particularly interesting? Well, I liked the music, and I imagine that a Bostonian would dig the local setting and the Bostonianisms. But I had a hard time telling the pale brunettes apart and I spent a healthy portion of the film in a state of mystification.
I feel badly about it, because I often complain about the dullness of the factory-built 3-act film. Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, filmed in a vérité style and having the guts to try something different, deserves great credit on that account. I just wish I were brighter. Perhaps then, I could have kept up.