Wednesday, September 23, 2009
ROMANCE IN REAL LIFE
John Maddison Morton subtitled Box and Cox as "A Romance in Real Life," signalling his parody of contemporary melodrama. Rather than heroes fighting bandits, enemy soldiers, or other villains, Morton shows two young Cockneys struggling with housing and marital problems. The setting is not a castle, island, cave or mountain retreat, but a rooming house in London. Instead of a blooming young ingenue, we have the "majestic", middle-aged widow Penelope Ann. Instead of a scheming lawyer, we have a scheming landlady. The hidden will or delayed pardon from execution meant to rush forward the action and resolve the plot(the meaningful artefact of melodrama) becomes letters from Cox's (or Box's) intended. And the stereotyped long-lost family member, identified by a birthmark or token, is rather found by the absence of a strawberry mark!