Friday, March 25, 2016


In Florida, Hortense, the obnoxious daughter of a rich Oklahoma oil man, is throwing a wild party in a hotel room; one partygoer shoots an arrow into a room across the way, putting out their lights. Out in the bay in a yacht is a rival heiress, Daisy Appleby (Bette Davis), who is actually avoiding company. But the next day, reporter Johnny Jones (George Brent) goes out to get an interview and when he's mistaken for a distant acquaintance, he's invited on the yacht where and he and Daisy hit it off, chatting and swimming; she likes him because he seems much nicer than the usual rich fellow. When she finds out Johnny's identity, she's pissed at first but when he agrees not to write the article, she thaws a bit. That night, Daisy attends a dinner party thrown by Hortense's father and, bored by him and her suitors, sneaks off with Johnny and spends the night at an amusement park. While they're hanging upside down on a ride, she proposes to him—she wants a marriage of convenience so she can avoid gold-digging suitors, and he'll be free to finally take time to write a novel. They marry, but what Johnny doesn’t know is that Daisy isn't really an heiress—she's been hired by a cosmetics firm to be their public face. Soon, she starts to develop real feelings for him, but he resents her company's attempts to stage-manage his private life (calling him a "Cinderella in pants") so he starts dating Hortense. Daisy tries to make him jealous but her plan backfires. Still, as we all know, in Hollywood screwball comedies, true love usually triumphs.

This was the first movie Bette Davis was assigned to by Warners after she won an Oscar for DANGEROUS, and I assume this was one of the movies she was referring to when she complained publicly about the poor quality of films she was being forced to make. There's really nothing wrong with it: it's a decently-made romantic comedy of class and misunderstandings, and Davis is fine in it. But it is not the kind of movie you associate with an Oscar-winner, or with the woman who just two years before garnered praise for her fierce performance as a nasty gold-digger in OF HUMAN BONDAGE. This is light and fluffy and full of silly plot twists and turns, and possibly more suited for someone like Kay Francis or Irene Dunne. Still, it is fun to watch, and Davis gives it her all even if she hated every minute of it. Brent is also delightful. I also enjoyed seeing the handsome Craig Reynolds show up as a PR man. Given that the film has been more or less ignored over the years as lesser Davis, it was more fun that I expected. [DVD]

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