Sunday, July 13, 2008


Decent romantic comedy; if it offers nothing new (it comes off as a watered-down version of the screwball classic THE AWFUL TRUTH), it still goes down smoothly with a good cast having a good time. Loretta Young is a famous actress who is about to announce her retirement from the stage to go live the easy life on a newly-bought Connecticut farm; however her husband, playwright Fredric March, refuses to give up the Broadway life, so he sells the farm without consulting with her and continues working on his play. She storms out in a huff, heading to Reno for a divorce until March plants a gossip item in the papers that he can't go on without her. She falls for it and returns to New York and the rest of the film consists of March's hijinks to get Young back, and her hijinks to make him suffer. One of March's stunts involves hiring a young actress (Eve Arden) to pose as Young's replacement in the play; in typical screwball fashion, Young arranges to marry a stuffed shirt, in this case, banker Allyn Joslyn—of course, we know he'll never do, just as we know that poor Ralph Bellamy won't do for Irene Dunne in AWFUL TRUTH (or, for that matter, won't do for Rosalind Russell in HIS GIRL FRIDAY). There are more phony scenes, including a fun one in a hotel room that was probably inspired by the famous stateroom scene in the Marx Brothers NIGHT AT THE OPERA. Naturally, the couple finally compromise and make up, getting the farm back and putting on the play, and the movie ends with her announcement from the stage that she's pregnant (another "relationship problem" movie of the era that is resolved by biology). There is solid support not just from Arden but from Robert Benchley and Helen Westley (who has a funny drunk scene). March and Young try hard, but feel a little like second-string performers pinched into service. Bubbly and fun, if not quite in the top rank of screwball comedies. [TCM]

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