Saturday, September 13, 2003


In the post-war years, Warner Brothers tried to make Dennis Morgan and Jack Carson a comedy/musical team. The two are amiable enough and Morgan always makes a convincing romantic lead, but they mostly come off as a B-grade version of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. Though they had appeared together in a few movies earlier in the 40's, this was the first of their lead pairings and it's their best (though THE TIME, THE PLACE, AND THE GIRL, reviewed Feb. 2002, is quite fun as well). Morgan plays a European prince (with absolutely no trace of an accent) who arrives in New York City on the eve of an important vote in his country on whether to keep a monarchy or go democratic. He wants to see life as a commoner and gets his guardian (S. Z. Sakall) to give him 24 hours of liberty (away from bodyguards and press) to experience America on his own. After he sneaks off his train, he meets up with a friendly cabbie (Carson); they get drunk and spend the night at Carson's house where he lives with his sister (Rosemary DeCamp) and her little daughter. The next morning Carson finds out Morgan's real identity (after having crashed in the same bed, Carson blurts out, "Me--sleeping with a prince!") and Carson agrees to keep Morgan's secret. Soon, Morgan winds up sweet on Carson's girl (Joan Leslie) and complications ensue. By a little past the halfway point, the plot machinations become a bit tedious but the actors keep it watchable. Janis Paige is another love interest, and John Ridgely and Franklin Pangborn have small roles. There are references to THE BIG SLEEP and GASLIGHT, and Lauren Bacall (whom Morgan has wanted to meet all along) and Humphrey Bogart have cameos in the last scene. The climax of the story involves a out-of-the-blue pro-democracy speech that Carson makes over the radio, in a sudden burst of post-war patriotism. Overall, the chemistry between Morgan and Carson makes the movie enjoyable.

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