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|Index||19 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
(Small spoilers) If you're a fan of Greer Garson (like me) or Robert
Taylor (like me) you'll need to see this movie. If you're not a fan,
you'll find the first forty minutes to be brilliant but the rest
This was Greer Garson's second film, and she's still young and beautiful here, with the full MGM glamour treatment. You can see that she hasn't perfected her acting skills yet; she does that next year in "Pride and Prejudice".
Robert Taylor is delightful in the first half. Yes, he does steal Lew Ayres' fiancée, but Greer is hard to resist. Lew Ayres' character resigns himself to this fate rather easily, having obviously endured it from his friend many times in the past. Taylor is very funny when he gets startled several times. Greer and Taylor are wonderful together, even more so than they are two years later in "When Ladies Meet".
If you're not a fan of either of these two, you'll still enjoy the first half of this movie. There are plenty of gags, funny lines, and good ideas; you could fill a whole web page with the hilarious things that Billie Burke gets to say.
But after the popular surprise-party sequence, everything slows down; the movie could actually end at this point. There is no dramatic need for anything else to happen: up until this point Lew Ayres has never shown any desire to get Greer back. It's not even clear to me why he bothers to slips them the drug, other than to help them forget their misery.
After eighty minutes, the movie ends very abruptly with Greer speaking a line that makes absolutely no sense. This one line will leave you shaking your head and wondering why you bothered with this movie. But go back and watch the first half again.
As I said, if you're a fan, then watch it. Otherwise, if you come across this movie somewhere, watch until the surprise party scene and then be kind and rewind.
Robert Taylor and Greer Garson (before she was "Greer Garson").star in
this one, of course, which can be both delightful and funny if you
watch it with no pretenses. The story is what it is, often impractical
and inconsistent, lots of gaps, but it's also very creative. You must
simply let it happen. Don't ask questions.
Lew Ayre's "Sky Ames" is confounding. He acquiesces to his best friend stealing the love of his life literally right out from under his nose, engineers an outlandish reunion, then finally makes sense in the end when he was to forget the whole thing.
Robert Taylor's "Jeff Holland" is a jerk. I found nothing likable about him, which is a shame, but Taylor himself was great. There's a scene where he's talking to his wife about his in-laws and they're all hiding behind furniture waiting for the cue to surprise him. They overheard his tirade, of course, and when they do appear, you watch the brashness Taylor portrays as it is instantly reduced to a guy who feels an inch tall. But then he's back to the jerk again.
There's some good supporting acting, as well, and it's worth a look. Be sure to suspend disbelief before viewing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm still trying to figure out just who would want to invent a drug
that would induce short term amnesia or any kind of amnesia. Most of
the films about that are serious ones with people trying their best to
recover lost memories. In fact Greer Garson in a few years would
co-star in one of the best of those movies, Random Harvest.
Remember? was the second film on Garson's contract and a followup to her acclaimed performance in Goodbye Mr. Chips for which she got her first Academy Award nomination. She's teamed here with Robert Taylor and the plot premise starts out like a lighter version of Boom Town.
If you'll remember after meeting Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert marries him on the spot to the chagrin of Spencer Tracy who is Gable's best friend. I'd say they stole the idea, but Boom Town came out the following year.
Maybe Louis B. Mayer decided that it was a gambit that needed a serious interpretation after this movie. Lew Ayres comes into his office brimming with news of an impending marriage to Greer Garson for his best friend Robert Taylor. They go out to lunch and Taylor gets Garson alone and that's it for Ayres.
But Taylor the young hard driving executive just can't tear himself away from business to actually run away with Garson. When they finally do, his mind is still on business and they eventually get divorced.
Meanwhile scientist Sig Ruman is inventing his amnesia drug and sly Lew Ayres mixes it for both of them. They do forget each other, but love does find a way. Ruman's character might have been the basis for Jack Kruschen's scientist in Lover Come Back, a film also about advertising and a crazy product. In fact now that I think of it Ayres has the Tony Randall part.
In which I've seen some descriptions of his performance as fey. This was the problem when back in the days of The Code you had to tap dance around having a gay character in the film. If someone bothers to remake Remember?, Ayres's character will be openly gay.
But I doubt that's going to happen. The film just doesn't get off the ground and is waste of the talent involved. In the Citadel Film series book, The Films Of Robert Taylor, it's recorded that Taylor thought very little of this film. It was the third of three duds with the public, Lucky Night, Lady Of The Tropics, and this one. His career hit a dry patch in 1939.
As for Garson she recovered quickly enough and had so many suitable roles for her coming up. I'm sure she'd have liked to forget this one as well.
Fairly mundane, but foreshadows "sunshine of the spotless mind" fifty years ahead. Acting is charming. Script amusing if labored. I did find myself chuckling from time to time. Any attempt at building a real story usurped by "Thin man style" drunk acts of principals. Billie Burke is a highlight and the plot device of the erased memories is fun. The directing seems to be the problem here as the movie never reaches a strong comedic pace necessary for the screwball underpinnings. Lots of fun moments that don't add up to any kind of structural pay-off, not a bad movie just fails to be a great one. if you like screwball the elements are here. If you have seen the great ones here is one to understand what makes the others great. Maybe Charlie Kauffman stuck this baby in his subconscious for the gimmick idea of memory loss through which kismet repeats its destiny. Lew Ayres seems like an earlier version of Jack Lemmon.
It's a very difficult task to make a film about a cheating fiancée and
a betraying your best friend into a light comedy. But that is exactly
what Remember? tries to do. The basic premise is that Greer Garson and
Lew Ayres are a couple. Robert Taylor is Ayres best friend and when he
meets Garson he starts romancing her right under Ayres nose. This is
suppose to be funny. Taylor is unbelievably suave and handsome and I
guess that is suppose to make it alright with the viewer.
Garson upon meeting Taylor leaves Ayres to his work while she spends the day with Taylor. She returns later for her date with Ayres, with Taylor still in tow. Again, this is suppose to be funny. Taylor and Garson soon marry leaving Ayres and the viewer in a state of shock. The storyline downplays the conflict (and reality) and has Ayres as a nice guy who tries to bring his ex-fiancée and best friend back together after they have a falling out.
I believe the film is trying to be a romantic comedy, however I found it neither funny nor romantic.
Anything coming out the same yr as Gone With the Wind and Wiz of Oz didn't really have a chance...stars Greer Garson, Robert Taylor, and Lew Ayres. some very clever bits in the script...the revolving door gag, and when Billie Burke (she was busy that yr!) says "We'll have a big breakfast. Do you like horses?" and of course the implication is that she was serving horse for breakfast..but they were going to have a fox hunt AFTER breakfast. Lot of fun bits, but you kind of have to buy into the memory loss deal. G. Garson reminds me of Myrna Loy... strong-willed, plain talking, speaks her mind. I liked Lew Ayres better in HOLIDAY... keep an eye out for Henry Travers as the Judge, an old friend of the family (he was "Clarence", the friendly ghost in "Its a Wonderful Life"). Some of the gags fall flat, like the "color of my eyes", since its in black and white. For the most part, its a fun, all around love-story farce. Directed by Norman McLeod, who had directed the Marx Brothers and W.C. Fields, so he certainly knew how to make a comedy! this has pretty low ratings, but its a cute little love story. /ksf-2
I gave "Remember?" a 6 because of the cast ONLY. I knew there had to be
a disaster made during the "magic" year of 1939, and sure enough, this
is it. Robert Taylor, Greer Garson, and Lew Ayres star in what surely
is the foreshadowing of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" except
that this is one case where a later film is better than one from the
The film concerns a man, Jeff Holland (Taylor) who falls in love with his friend Sky's (Lew Ayres) fiancé Linda (Garson) and abruptly marries her. However, he's a workaholic. This makes her very unhappy, and the two divorce. Desirous of getting them back together, Sky uses an experimental drug, that sounded like mematine. It erases everything that happened in the last six months. Interesting, because today there is a drug called memantine for Alzheimer's, so it actually has an opposite effect.
"Remember?" is only mildly funny. It lacks the pace of a comedy - it's one of those in between things where the story isn't compelling enough to be a drama but doesn't come off like a comedy either. The main part of the plot comes practically at the end of the film. One scene I did love - Billie Burke, as Garson's mother, has a surprise congratulatory party for the new couple. When they arrive, she has everybody hide behind furniture - which has become somewhat tedious, because the Hollands are late and the entire group has been hiding on and off for hours. When they arrive, Jeff and Linda are sent into the library, where Jeff complains to Linda about her father and her family's boring, blowhard friends. Then Billie Burke yells surprise. A very good scene, but there weren't enough of these in the movie to justify it.
The performances are good. Taylor is unbelievably handsome and really did have a nice flair for comedy. Lew Ayres, in real life a pacifist, vegetarian, and a very spiritual man, somehow played drinking men very well, and does so in this. Garson was still very early in her career but had already received an Oscar nomination. Guess Mayer thought she was a flash in the pan - this is hardly a step in a prestige career. Garson probably hoped she never was nominated for an Oscar again - who knows what MGM would do to her next. Fortunately it didn't work out that way.
"Remember?" is one of those films you'll more than likely want to forget.
The idea of a soon to be divorced couple taking a drug that causes
amnesia AND their falling in love all over again is a cute idea for a
romantic film. However, there is just too much irrelevant comedic stuff
in the first half of the film that just seems poorly written and a bit
silly. Sticking with this story idea and introducing it much sooner
might have helped the pacing--and gotten rid of all the irrelevant crap
early in the film.
The film starts with Lew Ayers introducing his fiancée (Greer Garson) to his best friend (Robert Taylor). Like a good friend, Taylor steals Greer for himself. At this point, the film is half completed--and made Garson and Taylor seem like real jerks. Poor Ayers--he seemed like such a nice guy that you couldn't help but hate the newly married couple. Why did they include this initial plot at all? There were some supposedly comedic moments leading up to it and Billie Burke plays her idiot routine well--but why write the film this way? It was as if the film didn't trust itself to be a romance and so it through in comedy and plot elements that seemed anything but romantic.
Overall, it's not a bad film but a huge waste of talent. With Greer Garson (just off her success in GOODBYE MR. CHIPS), Robert Taylor and Lew Ayers, it should have been dynamite. The biggest problem is making it a goofy comedy instead of a romance. Blame for this goes to the writers and producer--why did they do this?!
I gave this little ditty a 9 out of 10 because it's worth it to see some very funny dialog, good acting, and three very beautiful stars! Sometimes I'm a classic film 'snob' and prefer not to waste my time watching trash, so please know that I grade harshly. So, it was with delight that I discovered this little gem I'd never heard of. I'm a huge fan of Lew Ayres; he can do no wrong in my book - ever. I see that "Remember?" didn't get glowing reviews, and I urge you not to let that stop you. I rarely laugh out loud while movie-watching, but I found myself doing so! This is an adorable bit of cinema. It was NOT meant to be sophisticated or thought-provoking. It's for FUN - plain and simple!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Greer Garson was a rising star in 1939 and this film was her follow up
to "Goodbye Mr. Chips." She had proved unexpectedly popular and the
studio hurried this into production. Robert Taylor was in a slump after
"Lady of the Tropics" and before "Waterloo Bridge." Robert Osborne, on
TCM, commented that the screenwriters were either extremely clever or
drunk. I tend to the latter interpretation.
The plot involves a love triangle consisting of Taylor, Garson and Lew Ayres. Taylor steals Garson from his old friend Ayres and the two marry. Subsequently Taylor neglects Garson by concentrating on his career. When he misses the boat for their honeymoon, she leaves him and they begin a divorce.
Ayres, either to get Garson back or to help the couple, slips each of them an amnesia drug, so that they forget the last six months. It works and, in a manner reminiscent of "Groundhog Day," they repeat their initial meeting and fall in love again, marry again and leave poor Ayres in the dust.
The entire cast is very smooth and professional, with Taylor and Ayres both outshining the still new Garson. Supporting actors include Billie Burke and Reginald Owen, both of them doing their signature type of character. Sara Haden is excellent as Taylor's secretary.
There is a lot of good dialog, some genuinely funny situations and the usual MGM high gloss. "Remember?" is like a good dessert: rich, tasty but not substantial.
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