|Index||6 reviews in total|
When a European setting was considered necessary for a "sophisticated"
romantic comedy and a "prestige" production, "One Rainy Night"
delivered not only the setting, but also the European screenwriters and
even the European lead -- Francis Lederer doing a passable Maurice
Chevalier-like singing turn. The main plot is a trifle, as is
appropriate for romantic comedy. Lederer plays a stage actor who
accidentally kisses a stranger (Ida Lupino) in a darkened movie
theater, when he thought he was kissing his married lover (billed as
Countess Liev de Maigret). Lederer is prosecuted as a masher at the
insistence of a public morality committee. At trial, he can't tell the
true reason he kissed Lupino, so he says he was overcome by her beauty;
the trial makes him a popular celebrity and his stage play a hit, and
it starts a romance between Lederer and Lupino.
Lederer is a charming romantic lead and Lupino is radiant in an uncharacteristic early role as a sweet, innocent girl. Unfortunately, they have little chemistry between them, which is the weak point of the movie. But the supporting cast, including the always reliable Roland Young, Hugh Herbert, Donald Meek, Eric Rhodes, and Mischa Auer playing their usual characters, are all given either extended scenes or bits of business that keep the movie light, sparkling, and enjoyable. And Rowland Lee's direction is up to his usual high standard.
In Paris, "Incorrigible Philippe Martin, a rakish actor, has arrived at
a darkened movie theater for a tryst with his married girlfriend
Yvonne. Everything changes when he accidentally sits in the wrong seat
and kisses a beautiful publisher's daughter named Monique. To protect
Yvonne in the ensuing scandal, he claims that Monique's beauty was
irresistible. Now Monique is intrigued, but her fiancé is anything but
happy," according to the fine folks at Mill Creek Entertainment.
This is a mostly unsuccessful romantic comedy from the intriguing production team of Mary Pickford and Jesse L. Lasky. She was, of course, THE film sweetheart last appearing in "Secrets" (1933) and he was the likewise legendary former Paramount Studios boss. "One Rainy Afternoon" was the first of two films from Pickford and Lasky, both starring Ida Lupino. The second was better, but they stopped there. Interestingly, you can see traces of Ms. Pickford in Ms. Lupino's character - these parts look like they might have appealed to Pickford herself. Leading man Francis Lederer receives star-billing, but is lesser remembered today; he was a versatile and convincing actor. Everyone delivers competent, albeit uninspired, work.
Interesting, too, is that two of filmdom's very first popular players appear as uncredited extras. They are Florence Turner and Florence Lawrence, two of the movies' first genuine "STAR" actresses. Popular for several years, they were still big enough to appear in the first annual "Motion Picture Story Magazine" players poll, for 1912; Ms. Lawrence was #8, Ms. Turner was #11, and an up-and-coming Pickford appeared at #12. Pickford passed them in the next year's poll.
**** One Rainy Afternoon (5/13/36) Rowland V. Lee ~ Francis Lederer, Ida Lupino, Hugh Herbert, Roland Young
Middle thirties studio fodder that would be completely forgotten if it didn't have Ida Lupino in one of the star parts. She's very young although starting to move away from the English Jean Harlow mold the studio tried forcing her into when she first arrived. Her voice is still high and light not having yet acquired the smoky whiskey tinge that was to come within a few years. Some fun is provided by two members of the supporting cast, the always reliable Roland Young and the buffoonish Hugh Herbert plus Ida and the forgotten Francis Lederer make an attractive couple but this is a minor romantic comedy nothing more.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Super-attractive Countess Live de Maigret, a big wheel in Hollywood society, made only two movie appearances, of which this is the second. First up was China Seas (1935). Her role in this one is short but important. However, the main intent of the movie is obviously to showcase Francis Lederer and to surround him with an equally talented cast headed by Ida Lupino, Hugh Herbert, Roland Young, Donald Meek, Erik Rhodes and Joseph Cawthorne. Personally, I feel we see a little too much of Mr. Herbert and that he way outdoes his trademark "comic" routines, but I guess you could make the same comment about the other character players as well. Although she has the main female role, I found it slightly annoying that director Roland V. Lee allowed her to be continually upstaged by the character players. This said, however, One Rainy Afternoon is a very agreeable movie with first-rate production values and above all, a sense of fun. Available on a very good Alpha DVD. Don't be put off by the lousy credit titles which seem to have been duped from a dupe of a dupe. The movie itself is very good condition.
"One Rainy Afternoon" is an American remake of the French film
"Monsieur Sans-Gêne". I have no idea if the French film is any good or
not, all I know is that "One Rainy Afternoon" became VERY tiresome
almost as soon as it started! This is due to a terrible miscasting of
Francis Lederer in a comedy--and his abilities with comedy were
nonexistent. A fine actor, yes, but a comedian, no way! In addition,
there is a lot of Hugh Herbert in the film and my theory about his
films is that the more of him in a movie, the less I'll enjoy it. High
laugh just pierces my brain and makes me want to scream.
As for the plot, it's VERY contrived and not enough to support an entire full-length film. Lederer is going to meet a married woman at the theater but instead of sitting there and kissing her in the dark, he accidentally kisses a stranger (Ida Lupino). What makes this so unendurable is everyone's reaction to this--like the world is about to end or something! To base an entire film on such a faux pas--what a mistake and the film comes off as very forced and unfunny.
UPDATE: I saw this film again recently and think the original review a bit too severe. I now admit that the film, while seemingly endorsing sexual harassment, has some charm nevertheless.
Philippe Martin (Francis Lederer) is a struggling actor who
accidentally kisses Monique (Ida Lupino) in a darkened cinema thinking
that she is someone else. This incident causes a scandal which goes to
court. In the meantime, Philippe's stage career takes off and we end
with a theatre performance where the story depicts the recent events
and we even have a song about it.
This film isn't very good despite having 2 good main actors in the lead roles. I expected more from Lederer and Lupino but there just wasn't anything in the script to deliver. The film is about an incident which is not capable of carrying a whole film. It also contains a very annoying Hugh Herbert as "Toto" who is given comedy music when he appears, which is all the way through the film. His character helps ruin the film. But it is a film with a nothing story to begin with. Shame the two main actors wasted their time with this.
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