Saturday, January 25, 2003


A real pre-Code oddity: a romantic comedy-western-musical! With Joan Crawford!! Crawford plays a rich girl accompanying her rowdy group of friends on a trip out west on her father's private train. Her sister (Dorothy Sebastian) has brought along her new beau (Ricardo Cortez) and she thinks he's the real thing, but he soon starts hitting on Crawford. Tired of the whole scene, she jumps off the train in the middle of nowhere (actually, Montana) and meets up with a lonesome cowboy (Johnny Mack Brown). They flirt a bit and she spends the night with him under the stars. It turns out that she's not so very far from civilization: Brown is a cowboy on her father's ranch. After a quick courtship, they marry (with her father's approval, as he hopes Brown's the one to settle her down), but when the gang of friends stop by on the way back east, the culture clash (and Cortez's continuing caddish ways) almost proves too much for both of them. The clever ending involves a train robbery that isn't quite what it seems. It's not really a full-fledged musical, but a few songs get sung by Brown, Crawford, and the cowboys. Crawford is fine. Brown, after a few promising minutes early on, proves to be a bland leading man. More fun are Cliff Edwards as a banjo-playing buddy of Brown's and Benny Rubin as a Jewish doctor who winds up working on the ranch. The two engage in some fairly amusing vaudeville schtick. One rather racy line has Brown saying to Crawford, on their first night together, "I wish you could crawl into my bed some night!" I wish Cortez had played the cowboy; at least he would have had a personality.

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