Friday, July 19, 2002


This remake of THE RICHEST GIRL IN THE WORLD, a 30's comedy with Joel McCrea and Miriam Hopkins, is a bland B-comedy with a totally second-string cast and several plot loopholes the size of Texas. Laraine Day is a rich woman, the head of a shipyard that is doing work for the military (made in 1944, the wartime setting is used but not as effectively as it could be). She is paranoid about her privacy and concerned about gold-digging men, and has a secretary (Marsha Hunt) go around at public functions pretending to be her. Hunt wants to quit and follow her new husband (Allyn Joslyn, who is fine in a thankless role) to Washington, so everyone around Day conspires to get her married off to a decent man as soon as possible. Army officer Alan Marshal enters the picture and falls for Day, thinking she is the secretary. But Day, who also falls for Marshal, rather stupidly decides to test him and she keeps pushing Marshal at Hunt and not telling him who is really who. Eventually, he gives in and sets his sights for Hunt, pissing off Day (and Joslyn). Hijinks and confusion ensue.

Day, Hunt, and Marshal cannot make the material come to life, and so the loopholes are especially irritating--we never get a strong sense of why Marshal suddenly decides he's in love with Hunt, and the last-minute changes in people's characters at the end are totally unmotivated. There is one funny slapstickish scene involving lawn sprinklers, and a pleasant surprise for me was Edgar Buchanan in a Charles Coburn-type role. I've only ever seen Buchanan as Uncle Joe in PETTICOAT JUNCTION, so I was pleased to see him shine in this role. Oddly, there is mention in the movie of an Uncle Joe, though it's not Buchanan's character!

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