I picked this up recently, mainly on the strength of the passionate rave by some forum member (come out, come out, wherever you are!) about the glories of Peter Ibbetson
. So thank you, whatsisname.
What a find! One of the headiest Hollywood movies of this or any other era. I was completely hooked even before the mind-bending third act. The film has some of the most eloquent visuals I've seen: stunning sets and lighting, and a sublime, emotionally-motivated moving camera throughout. It reminded me of an American Cocteau (with extravagant production values).
The script and performances are highly stylised, but work beautifully once you immerse yourself in them, and Cooper's characteristic stiffness is perfect for the character and mood. And that final section must be one of the wilder things ever countenanced by a major studio.
The final third of the film is devoted to a shared lucid dream that goes on for decades while, back in the 'real' world, nothing happens - our heroine is paralysed with grief and our hero is paralysed with a broken back.
That conclusion is certainly attention-getting in its oddity - and the delivery of it is as spectacularly odd, romantic and visionary as the conception - but even before that the film is continually visually arresting and emotionally compelling.
When the Cooper collection was announced, Design for Living
seemed to be the key title for most people here, but I think Peter Ibbetson
is much richer and stranger, and well worth the price of the set.