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Although Private Number is nowhere near as gritty as Midnight Mary, it is beautifully photographed (Fox Movie Channel's print is lovely), and Loretta Young is almost as gorgeous here as she was in that awesome precode classic, certainly more beautiful than she was in the 1940's favorites The Bishop's Wife and The Farmer's Daughter.
Loretta looks especially beautiful with Robert Taylor in Private Number; they make a gorgeous couple. Did they ever have a romance off screen? They looked perfectly suited to one another physically.
Favorite scenes take place up at a lake in Maine, although I can't understand why Loretta's character leaves her friend the maid's character (played with pizazz by Patsy Kelly) alone naked on the shore (friend had lost bathing suit in the water). Loretta, instead of helping her, takes off with Robert Taylor's character on his boat, abandoning her friend. I'd never do that to my friend!. In fact that was the most annoying thing to me about the film: Patsy Kelly was always supporting Loretta and Loretta never did anything to repay her.
Basil Rathbone was downright scary as the butler. He was colder and more frightening here than he was with Greta Garbo in Anna Karenina, and that's saying a lot! I like the way Loretta shudders in the beginning after she first meets the butler. It made me laugh. Listen to your instincts, girl, leave! But no, she's coaxed into staying by Patsy Kelly's character, Gracie.
Monroe Owsley has a small but impressive role as James Coakley, a weak scoundrel on the make. He was to die only a year later after a car crash. Jane Darwell and Billy Bevan put in appearances as servants. Marjorie Gateson did well in the role of Robert Taylor's mother. Also worthy of note is the beautiful large dog, Prince, played by "Hamlet". I would love to have an affectionate dog like that! I wonder who his trainer was? He was adorable. When he puts his paw up on Loretta at one point to comfort her, I sighed "Awwwwww!" 8 out of 10 stars.
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