Auto magnate James Buchanan has a fiancée who doesn't love him and a board of directors who won't listen to him. Brooding on a park bench, he meets unemployed Joan Hawthorne, a fine cook who needs a partner to apply for a 'couple' butler/cook job with gourmet ex-bootlegger Mike Rossini. Bemused, Buchanan goes along with the gag, taking lessons from his own butler. But there's sure to be a day of reckoning... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In order to cash in on Frank Capra's popularity in England, Columbia Pictures released this film in London as "A Frank Capra Production, produced by Frank Capra." Capra who had never even seen the film was furious. This led to a bitter year-long dispute between the head of Columbia Harry Cohn, and Capra (who sued Columbia for libel). It almost cost Cohn his job and almost resulted in Capra leaving the studio. It was resolved when Cohn relented and promised to buy for Capra, the rights to the play "You Can't Take It with You" for $200,000, and pay him some back salary if he would drop the suit. And Capra did. See more »
This dry, low-key romantic comedy is very satisfying. Arthur is excellent, and Marshall is well cast as an automobile executive who wants to get away from his stuffy board of directors and his pushy fiancé, and finds happiness posing as a butler (initially so that Arthur can get work as part of a butler-cook team). Lionel Stander (as he often does) steals the show as the acerbic sidekick of gangster Carillo, and he's given some great lines. Carillo is pleasing, too, as the gangster who wants to live like the gentry, and who's romantically interested in Arthur, but who's willing to hold back because he's a gourmet and is even more interested in retaining her as a cook. The best thing about the film is that it never gets tripped up in excessive plot complications, or telegraphs its humor. Giving Carillo a gustatorial as well as romantic interest allows him to take certain actions without burdening the romance of the principals. And, after giving us enough of a glimpse of the snotty fiancé to know what Marshall's in for, the film has the grace not to show her face again; no silly "scheming" or tiresome bared claws. In the final scene, when all are trying to convince Arthur through a locked door that she should marry, they move from straight arguments to playing roles in a "routine," but there's no winking and signaling to signify a change in technique, it just flows quickly and naturally. The film has enough confidence in the unfolding of the relationship between the principals that the intrusion of other characters and mechanical "plot complications" can be kept to a minimum Thus Carillo's proposal and interference at the denouement serves mainly to allow Arthur to voice her feelings about Marshall, and Carillo actually brings them together rather than holding them apart. Nice film.
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