Arnold Bennett’s early 20th-century novel, Buried Alive, has been resurrected by Nunnally Johnson as a Monty Woolley-Gracie Fields starrer. The production and casting credits are all on the plus side in this comedy-drama themed in England at the turn of the century.
Matrimony is a study of characters, and Johnson’s script has defined, and Stahl’s direction developed, them excellently. Woolley is dominant throughout as Priam Farll, a painter whose fame for 25 years had mounted in England while he worked in solitude in the South Seas, accompanied only by a valet. When a command appearance is ordered by King Edward so he can be knighted, the trip back to England marks a turn of events that form the crux for the story.
The film’s development abounds with a story line that at no times strains credibility. Fields gives the film a highly human touch. She’s a perfect mate for Woolley’s cantankerous characterization.