Sunday, January 09, 2011


Act 1: Ross Alexander, a goofy clerk who works for Joseph Cawthorn, is sweet on secretary Gloria Stuart, but so is Cawthorn's son, Phillip Reed. Alexander thinks he's getting a promotion to Havana, but instead the boss wants him to keep an eye on Reed. Complications ensue. Act 2: Alexander and Stuart have a spat, and Reed talks his dad into sending Alexander to Havana after all, but at the dock, Stuart and Alexander make up. They get married, Stuart quits work, and Alexander gets fired. Act 3: Marital problems build up, mostly due to Alexander's gambling and Stuart's well-meaning family always hanging around. They split up and both go back to work for Cawthorn. Eventually Reed helps the two reconcile and Stuart makes her family leave them alone.

This is an average example of the romantic comedy subgenre about a young couple grappling with various problems during a rocky courtship and first year of marriage. It's unusual only in that it's based on a play by Maxwell Anderson, "Saturday's Children," though I think the original and the 1940 film adaptation with John Garfield are a bit more serious than this version. This film seems to be Frank Capra material played at Marx Brothers speed, and the result is not wholly satisfying. Alexander was supposedly a promising young contract player at Warners whose career was scotched by his homosexuality, but I've seen him in a handful of films and he just never seemed like a leading man type; he's certainly the weak link in this cast, which is a shame because most everyone else is fine. Stuart is wonderful as always; Reed, a Tyrone Power look-alike, has more charisma than Alexander; also good are Henry Travers, Frank McHugh, and Ruth Donnelley as Stuart's family members. [TCM]

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