audrey_e (audrey_e) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Book 30

Originally posted by audrey_e at Book 30
30 IDIOT'S DELIGHT Robert E. Sherwood (USA, 1936)

This Pulitzer Prize-winning play is set in the cocktail lounge of a hotel in the Italian Alps near the frontier of Switzerland and Austria right before the start of WWII. Characters include a cynical American entertainer and his female dancers, a young English couple on their honeymoon, a mysterious Russian woman accompanied by a French arm seller and an enthusiastic communist.

To save money, I'm still reading books from my cousin's husband's library and as I was in the mood to read a play, this is one of the few ones I was able to find.
Idiot's Delight could have been a complex claustrophobic play about people stuck in a hotel right before the start of an ethically challenging conflict. At least this is what I expected from a Pulitzer Prize winner. While Sherwood does mix comedy with tragedy, his play greatly suffers from a lack of convincing complex characters and is drowned in unnecessarily mundane dialogues. As for the ending, it belongs more to Hollywood than the stage.
Apparently there is a film adaptation of the same name with the great Clark Gable that could be much better simply because it is the type of stories that were greatly improved by the cinema of the time. I might give it a try.
Fortunately, American theater has too many treasures to offer for Idiot's Delight to stand out.


Tags: play

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