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Douglas Fairbanks Jr.,
Myron Brooks, a medical-school student, graduates and starts his internship at a hospital. He asks his sweetheart, Ruth Robbins, to marry him but she refuses to until he has established his practice. Meanwhile, she goes to work as a secretary for an attorney, Albert Hartman, and he is so impressed with her dictation abilities that he sets her up a place to practice her dictation and other secretarial skills. It is only after she is taken to a hospital with an appendicitis attack, and young Doctor Marlowe performs a successful appendectomy on her that she decides to give up her night job and marry Dr. Brooks. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
[According to Lew Ayres in a 1985 interview] Mr. Whale had a reputation as an outstanding director, but I feel he was more or less accustomed to actors with considerable more polish than I possessed at the time. Yet, I was the young man under contract to the studio, and he had me thrust upon him... I tried to do my job, and he said little or anything to me one way or other. Frankly, I don't think he thought I was correctly cast for the part. See more »
A fascinating curio, Impatient Maiden reveals director James Whales' cinema style as well as his personal evasiveness.
This slice-of-life romantic drama concerns one Ruth Robbins, effectively portrayed by Mae Clark. By day, a secretary to a divorce attorney, Ruth brushes up against life one broken marriage at a time. At home, a neighbor's wife attempts suicide when her husband leaves her and it's left to Ruth to summon an ambulance. So when ambulance driver Myron Brown sparks Ruth's interest, Ruth's own cynical attitudes become her biggest obstacle. Distain for marriage and having personal obstacles were themes which may have found resonance to the personally challenged James Whale. He presents his tableau in matter-of-fact style, without undue emphases: Ruth's lonely plight is just something she does everyday.
Lew Ayers [pre-Kildare] as Myron Brown displays a natural ease in his role, and with Whale blocking for him he'll never look better. Supporting roles are well cast. An early Andy Devine keeps the dramatic tone from sinking. On the distaff side, an ebullient Una Merkel is on hand to perk up Ruth. Great casting and solid performances maintain a balance that makes this film more "accessible" than others of this ilk.
The presentation is smartly handled, too. A Whale trademark was a scene transition that followed characters from room to room by tracking the camera through the wall. Though the end of the wall gets a close-up, the viewer's perception is priority. Rose walks from one end of her apartment to the other and in one shot the limits of her 3 room flat are established. Indeed, the film opens with an establishing sequence when Rose leaves for work. In a location shot, she quits her flat into a rundown neighborhood and boards Angel's Flight. She continues her conversation as Arthur Edeson's camera boards and rides down a piece of history. The viewer gets a real feel for what Ruth's life is like.
The attraction between Ruth and Myron is advanced and retracted like waves on the beach. Love can't catch a break until the last reel. Elusive love, what fun the chase is, especially in this film. Recommended.
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