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William A. Wellman
George K. Arthur,
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Great chemistry between Haines and Crawford but formula plot...
SPRING FEVER is a silent comedy that plods along with too many dull scenes on a golf course, occasionally enlightened by some good comic glances from WILLIAM HAINES and some nice reaction shots from the wealthy golf set, including a very young JOAN CRAWFORD (without the thick eyebrows and overpainted mouth).
But the story is formula stuff, much like other Haines comedies that I've seen, whereby he struggles to prove himself (all for the sake of winning the girl) and goes through a series of Harold Lloyd-like situations before the clinch in the final reel.
TCM's print shows quite a bit of film damage, so apparently they saved this one for restoration just in time. Some of the title cards are quite amusing but the background score imposed on the film is pretty tiresome before it's over.
The best that can be said for this vehicle is that it shows Haines had the makings of a very good romantic leading man (in the Cary Grant vein when it comes to comedy), and his chemistry with Joan Crawford is evident from their first scene. In real life, they were great friends--and she helped him when the studios had to drop him because he refused to silence his homosexual lifestyle--whereby Crawford remained friends and gave him permission to design her new home which led to a new career for Haines in Hollywood.
As for the film itself, it was hardly worth saving--very thin on plot and not a comfortable viewing experience due to the often poor quality of the print.
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