It’s less than 10 minutes into Riptide, and already Norma Shearer is decked out in insect-woman garb, adjusting the fit of the skimpy costume and complaining that part of it must surely be missing. Mary, the easygoing city girl Shearer plays, never makes it to the masquerade ball scheduled out on Long Island. Instead, she falls easily in lust with a lonely New York swell named Lord Philip Rexford (Herbert Marshall), equally ridiculous in an unrecognizable bug costume that fits him like a suit of chain mail might, if chain mail came with bug eyes a pair of antennae. As meet cutes go, it’s a terrific pre-Code absurdity — the movie hasn’t even begun yet, and already the leading lady is half undressed.

Continue reading