The Radiant Romantic series currently running at the Siskel Film Center isn’t turning out to be the treasure trove of hidden gems I was hoping for. These films starring actress Janet Gaynor (Academy Award-winner for the original A Star is Born) and/or directed by Frank Borzage (A Farewell to Arms) have, of those I’ve seen, mostly missed the mark, proving to be as exasperating as they are entertaining.
That’s not to say they’re not worth seeing. A film from the golden age of film is always worth seeing if only to catch an early appearance of a major star (such as Jimmy Stewart in this film), to marvel at primitive special effects and Hollywood spectacle, or to stare agog in disbelief at what once passed for entertainment (The “Blah Blah Song” in Delicious or 80% of The Great Gabbo, for instance.)
The films I’ve screened in the series so far (I’ve Always Loved You (1946), Small Town Girl (1936), Delicious (1931), and Street Angel (1928) are reviewed below, and represent a mixed bag of romantic melodrama.