Strangers in Love is a 1932 American Pre-Code comedy film directed by Lothar Mendes and written by Grover Jones, William J. Locke and William Slavens McNutt. The film stars Fredric March, ...
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Strangers in Love is a 1932 American Pre-Code comedy film directed by Lothar Mendes and written by Grover Jones, William J. Locke and William Slavens McNutt. The film stars Fredric March, Kay Francis, Stuart Erwin, Juliette Compton, George Barbier, Sidney Toler and Earle Foxe. The film was released on March 4, 1932, by Paramount Pictures.
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
Fredric March plays a dual role here again, though much more subtle than in "Dr Jekyl and Mr. Hyde" from the previous year. In the beginning you don't even know that Arthur Drake has an identical twin. All you can see is that he is wealthy, self-absorbed, and utterly consumed with Egyptology. Kay Francis is his assistant and holds him in obvious contempt - obvious to everyone but Arthur, who doesn't pay that much attention to her anyways.
The scene switches and at first I was confused. Here again is March, but this time he is shabbily dressed and looking in at the window of a bakery talking to fellow down-and-out friend Stan (Stuart Erwin) about what butter and bread are and what you do with it if you get some. The insinuation being that they are poor and hungry. Then you find out he is Buddy Drake, Arthur's twin, prodigal son of the Drake family. He decides right there to get his fair share of the inheritance and goes off alone to confront Arthur that very night.
Arthur seems anxious to get rid of Buddy, claiming that their father disinherited Buddy and writing him a check and making him promise to never come back. Buddy smells a rat and says he thinks he will stick around because something does not seem right to him - he knows his brother is selfish and would never pay him off if he didn't feel he had to do so. At this point Arthur erupts into a vicious rant - he has always hated Buddy because of his athletic body and his own heart condition which kept him indoors and away from the adoration and fun his brother had - at this point Arthur clutches his heart and drops dead. Now nobody has seen any of this, so Buddy swaps clothes with Arthur and decides to take his place. He calls for the servants and says that Buddy has dropped by and dropped dead. Everyone seems to swallow this given Buddy's life on the streets these past years, and now Buddy steals Arthur's identity along with all of the money he figures he had coming to him. If anyone knows Arthur is the one who died, an Egyptology society gets the entire estate, and Buddy figures half the estate was his to begin with.
Soon Buddy lets Stan in on the ruse, with Stan pointing out the obvious holes in this plan - Buddy doesn't even know how to sign Arthur's signature so he can't even sign checks and get his hands on the money, knows nothing about Egyptology so he can't fool his associates, and knows nothing of Arthur's friends and routine. Stan suggests they grab valuables and cash laying around the house and leave town. Plus, Arthur's life was not as boring as Buddy might have thought. He is getting threatening phone calls from someone named Clark demanding money, and he is subject to the unwanted attention of a blonde who demands he reciprocate that attention or else she will "rat him out to the cops". The question Buddy has is - rat him out about WHAT? Well this is all Buddy would need to leave town if it wasn't for the beauty of assistant Diana (Kay Francis), to whom he is instantly attracted. And if Buddy didn't need more trouble, Diana believes Arthur stole all of her father's money and is working there just to get the goods on him. When Arthur(Buddy) suddenly starts behaving like a human being, Diana begins to have feelings for him.
So how will all of this work out? Watch and find out.
This is not a straight drama, as so many of Kay Francis' and Fredric March's vehicles at Paramount were. There is quite a bit of comedy in this to lighten the mood and it does keep you guessing right up to its ironic end. Highly recommended
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