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There isn't anything in THERE GOES MY GIRL that hasn't been done before
in screwball comedies of the '30s and '40s. This has the feisty ANN
SOTHERN playing a game of oneupmanship with would be hubby GENE
RAYMOND, both of them cheated out of getting married by their scheming
boss RICHARD LANE.
The story is absurd, the plot contrivances are everywhere, and it's just a matter of time before Sothern and Raymond are able to tie the knot by using physical restraint on Lane to keep him from interfering with their nuptial ceremony.
It's old hat stuff given a little too much zest from pert ANN SOTHERN, at her feistiest, and GENE RAYMOND, trying hard to be a comedian but not exactly a master of disguises. His French accent is a disgrace.
Newspaper stories were quite the fad in the '30s and this is just another one of those fast paced comedies that makes absolutely no sense when you stop to think about it. Other stars, like Rosalind Russell, Jean Arthur, Claudette Colbert, Irene Dunne and even Bette Davis, did similar screwball newspaper stories but with much better scripts.
... and they cut the scenes with Lucille Ball ?? what were they thinking ? Lucy would make "Stage Door" in 1937 also, still a newbie at this point. Newspaper reporters Connie (Ann Sothern) and Jerry (Gene Raymond) are getting married, or have been trying to get hitched for some time now, and Connie's editor (Richard Lane) will stop at nothing to keep her from getting married. Connie follows Jerry out of town on a murder story, and tries to catch him in her web. Attentive viewers will recognize Connie's fellow reporter "Tate" -- It's Frank Jenks, who usually played the thug in crime dramas, and would have supporting roles in four films with G. Raymond. Joan Woodbury plays "Margot", an interloper and dancer who catches Jerry's eye. Will Connie & Jerry ever hook up? Some funny telephone gags. Plot very similar to "His Girl Friday", which was made three years Later... although different writers are credited.
I have the feeling this movie should be funnier than I find it. All the
performers are good -- even if Gene Raymond was always a little too
stiff to be interesting, that has lots of possibilities in a screwball
comedy. Joe August's cinematography is, as always, great without being
intrusive. The stooge reporters, including eternal lunk Gordon Jones,
are fine. But this story of how Anne Southern pursues once-and-future
fiancé Gene Raymond, after her editor, Richard Lane, has a fake murder
staged to break up the marriage, never quite gels for me. Maybe it's
the way everyone rushes through their lines.Maybe it's the long
excursions in a serious plot about murder that no one is expected to
care about. Maybe it's the fact that everything is a little too
polished and beautiful, including Anne Southern in an expensive fur
coat -- I don't care if she is on an expense account, she's a reporter.
Mostly I attribute it to the fact there is only one genuinely funny
scene, when Anne Southern is beating up the gorillas her editor sent to
fetch her back.
The whole thing is directed by RKO stalwart Ben Holmes, a jack-of-all-tradesman for anything not involving a horse. Mr. Holmes worked so fast that he is credited with directing four movies that came out in 1944, even though he died in 1943!
The 1940 comedy "His Girl Friday" is a magnificent film based on the
earlier film "The Front Page". In between these two films came "There
Goes My Girl"--and while it must have been influenced by "The Front
Page", I actually think "There Goes My Girl" was a big influence on
"His Girl Friday". This is because "The Front Page" was not about a
couple--and the two subsequent films were.
In this film, Jerry (Gene Raymond) and Connie (Ann Sothern) are reporters for rival newspapers. The problem is that Connie's editor is a super-conniver--and he always comes up with a way to prevent the wedding because he doesn't want his best reporter to retire to a life of domestic servitude. In other words, back in the day, wives stayed home and didn't work outside the home. As for Connie, she seems pretty stupid and keeps falling for Whelen's schemes and eventually Jerry walks out--unwilling to allow himself to be pulled into Whelen's games and Connie's falling for them.
Eventually Connie comes to her senses and pretends to be going on an assignment for Whelen--but she really travels to Connecticut because she's heard Jerry is there. Can Whelen manage to once again derail Connie now that she is finally determined to win back her man?
The film is a nice comedy and very enjoyable. It's remarkably similar to the other two films but the dialog isn't quite as sparkling and zippy as it is in "His Girl Friday"--and who can surpass Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell? Plus, it's just funnier.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This "B" screwball comedy from RKO seems to take itself way too
seriously, believing that gags can only be funnier if you expand them.
It also seems to be two different movies, starting off as battle of the
sexes between lovers (and rival reporters) Ann Sothern and Gene Raymond
and moving into a murder mystery where the culprits are pretty obvious
once they are introduced into the movie half way through. The opening
is pretty promising, with Raymond a screwy reporter who invites a
panhandler out for drinks with Sothern then makes the poor man he is a
part of some death trap. Of course, it's a bit of a running gag, so
when the poor tramp keeps showing up, the laughs return, but it's just
another indication that the writers found their script too amusing
without regards for subtly or tact.
Sothern is a total wildcat, tearing into her boss for plotting to keep her from marrying Raymond, as well as the four dumb lugs sent to basically kidnap her. When they find her in the shower, they send in a woman instead, and this poor unseen character ends up in the hospital, while a scratching and biting Sothern lets her rampage continue on the truly idiotic stooges of her boss (Gordon Oliver). Sothern then instantly changes her tune for a soft spoken worker at the newspaper whom she basically kills with kindness after he gives her news on Raymond's whereabouts. As fast as this plot seems to wrap up, both Raymond and Sothern are thrown into a murder which comes out of nowhere, and a certain character actor (always cast as a villain) is obviously the top suspect from the start. This leads to an unsurprising finale and the ultimate conclusion that while recycling sets from Astaire/Rogers films, what the producers and creators forgot was to get a story that really worked.
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