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Americana At Its Very Best. Don't Be Fooled By The Homespun Title
This was a delightful surprise. I'd heard about the actresses who'd turned down the lead role and -- let's face it -- the title is pretty corny.
But it is a charming movie -- funny and touching by turns. The little boy in it gets fairly low billing but far too much screen time. He's icky and barely understandable in many scenes. Otherwise I'd rats the movie a full 10.
I am kind of a cynic when it comes to Americana but now and then, it really works; and this is one of those times.
The movie reminds me of "Meet Me In St. Louis," which it predates, in that it is about a strong, loving family that stays together and triumphs over odds.
Ruby Keeler is surprisingly good in the role turned down by Katharine Hepburn and others. Fay Bainter is at her most appealing. James Ellison is, as always, appealing, as are Anne Shirley and Walter Brennan. In a juicy role that came a year before the one that made her famous, Margaret Hamilton is the kind of villain moviegoers love to see get her comeuppance, which she and her hapless husband surely do, thanks to the ingenuity of the family and the two sisters' beaux.
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