Saturday, March 11, 2006


Pre-Code comedy which is probably an early example of what amounts to a sub-genre of romantic comedies in which a free-wheeling playboy finds true love and settles down with one good woman. Here, the playboy is Lowell Sherman, who was nearing 50 and looks every year of his age and more, so he truly looks like he's going to seed; I guess that may make the situation more realistic, but I had a difficult time buying Sherman as an active gold digger magnet. When an old flame of Sherman's (Mae Murray), who has since gotten married, shows up and wants to continue their arrangement, Sherman sends her away and vows to turn over a new leaf, but then a chance meeting with a young woman (via a fender-bender) sets him back on his philandering ways. Meanwhile, aspiring chorus girl Claudia Dell brags to her secretary sister Irene Dunne about having an assignation with Sherman. Dunne thinks it's a bad idea and heads over to Sherman's Park Avenue place to break it up, but it turns out that Dell is actually being wooed under false pretenses by Sherman's butler. However, Sherman is thoroughly charmed by Dunne and the rest of the film concerns his attempts to convince her that he can be a one-woman man, appearances to the contrary. The tone is light, with an occasional melodramatic flourish, as when Murray's husband comes gunning for Sherman; I suspect that in 1931, some of the material was laugh-out-loud funny, but I rarely did more than smile. One interesting shot has Murray dressed in a flimsy little thing that makes her look naked as a jaybird. Dunne is just OK in her third starring vehicle. Leading man Sherman directed the movie (and also directed Katharine Hepburn's breakthrough picture MORNING GLORY). The screenplay is by John Howard Lawson, later one of the blacklisted Hollywood Ten. [TCM]

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