Sunday, January 08, 2006


A runaway-bride screwball comedy done on a B-budget, which means that some of it works fine, but you keep wishing that the acting and writing were just a little bit sharper. Wendy Barrie is the daughter of department store owner George Barbier; when we first meet her, she is running out on her wedding to gold-digging Prince Paul (Rafael Storm) with the blessings of her father. Jumping on a double-decker bus, in full wedding gown splendor, she bums some bus fare from Kent Taylor, a mild-mannered bespectacled fellow (who looks exactly like Clark Kent!). He's into reading books about success, although he's not having much luck setting the world on fire in his job as an accountant (at, of course, her father's store). To explain the wedding gown, she tells him that she's a model and that she just quit her job because of an abusive boss. He takes her under his wing, letting her stay at his apartment while he stays with a friend. She is taken with him, largely because he's interested in her for herself, not her money. When the store, which is the target for a hostile merger by competitor Thurston Hall, has to make some cuts, they start with unmarried males, so Taylor tells his boss (Charles Lane) he's married, and he proposes to Barrie, who accepts, and they even adopt a baby (a bizarre plot point that doesn't really work; it just seems like an attempt to throw more "madcapness" into the mix). Taylor moves up in the organization, co-workers figure out who he's married to, and the news eventually reaches Taylor. He resents the subterfuge, leaves Barrie, and quits, getting hired by the competition and triggering a heated sales competition. Both the romance and the merger get resolved in a rather rushed manner in the last ten minutes. Taylor and Barrie are about evenly matched and work together fairly well, though both would get wiped off the screen by Grant and Hepburn, or Powell and Loy. Cecil Cunningham is good in a small role in her usual high bitch mode. There's an amusing sequence near the end involving the baby running loose on a department-store floor, but generally the movie is at its best during its first half. [TCM]

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