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It was an article of faith among the more cynical critics during the
age" of Hollywood movies that most of what the industry turned out could
summed up as "boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl but gets her
back before the final fade". Well, here Lewis Milestone has directed just
such a formula tale. But he, more famous for such films as ALL QUIET ON
WESTERN FRONT, has handled the genre with such a light touch that the
is delightful. Mind you, I don't say the film is top 100 quality, but
not to like about a Sacha Guitry romantic comedy featuring Ronald Colman
Ginger Rogers and ending with a courtroom scene, common to this type of
in the 1930's and 1940's, presided over by Henry Davenport as Judge?
We start out with Colman as some sort of "mystery artist" accosted by Rogers with a hare-brained scheme to win the Irish sweepstakes, if only he will go halvers with her. He wished her "Good Luck" one morning, you see, and immediately she was given a lovely dress by a complete stranger. So naturally, she knew he was a sure token of good luck. She wants the money for her honeymoon, but Ronald has an idea of his own--he wants her to go with him on the honeymoon, strictly Platonic, of course. To make a long story a bit shorter, Ginger doesn't like the idea but Ronnie persuades her fiance, Jack Carson, that it's O.K. (Don't ask how!), so she finally agrees. They draw a horse on their ticket (if you don't know how the Irish Sweepstakes worked, there isn't room here to explain it all), but the horse doesn't win. However, Jack has sold one-half of the ticket for $6000 on the strength of the horse. He gives this to Ginger, who gives it to Ronnie, who arranges the trip and buys a car in Ginger's name. After considerable pussyfooting around it becomes clearer by the minute that Plato is going to lose this one. Ronnie gets cold feet and beats it in the car bought in Gingers's name. Naturally he is arrested for car theft, Ginger is arrested for possessing a stolen painting (I told you Ronnie as a "mystery artist"), Jack is arrested for breaking down Ginger's hotel room door (he got jealous after all), and they all end up in Henry Davenport's courtroom.
Now, don't read another word if you don't already know the outcome, but if you are of the female persuasion and had the choice of Ronald Colman or Jack Carson, whom would you choose. This courtroom scene is not the best of this sort, which I mentioned was common to the period, but it does serve to sort things out. It may be corn, but it is lovely, sweet corn, and not from Iowa. Light sparkling comedy was Sacha Guitry's stock in trade.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm going to argue that this movie isn't supposed to make sense as some
people have written. It's the type of film, for me personally as a
teenager at least, one would love to watch and imagine that you are
Ronald Colman. I mean here you have the beautiful Ginger Rogers (who by
the way reminds me of Esther Williams in this movie) and a complete
stranger who manages to enchant her out of the blue. It's every man's
dream to find that beautiful girl, and for me, I spent the whole movie
wishing Colman luck in getting Rogers. So for those of you who say the
plot is improbable, it is, but thats the point. I think the movie is
supposed to reflect every man's wishful fantasy, not reality.
The chemistry between Ginger and Colman was all right, not the best I agree, but still it wasn't awful. If you are going to be watching this movie, I suggest you watch it with an open mind, don't consider the improbability or anything else, just follow the plot and don't think too hard. Do that at least the first time, cause thats the way it was supposed to be viewed in my opinion.
The only thing I didn't like was the ending of the movie. The court room scene seemed a little bit rushed and not the kind of ending one would like. The beginning was OK, it set up the movie. The middle was very good, witty, romantic and comical. And you would expect it to finish comically, but I agree with the previous posts that the producers seem to have run out of ideas. Nevertheless, it is worth watching for the middle part alone. Enjoy.
Archetypal screwball comedy, but lacking vitality. One expects a lot of
enjoyment from a movie starring Ginger Rogers, Ronald Colman, and Jack
Carson, with a fine supporting cast, and a plot involving the Irish
Sweepstakes. However, one doesn't get it. Partly it's the age
difference-- Colman was 48, a stretch for the part he was playing,
Rogers was 29 and in her prime. The movie's theme is "opposites
attract" but it didn't work--instead, there was just a total lack of
There was a lot of charm in the courtroom scenes, with the endearing Harry Davenport as judge.
However, overall the film was unbearably slow-paced. Too bad, It could have been a comedy delight.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've come around to re-watching Lucky Partners and I have to confess
that I've only watched it once before.What the movie most suffers from
is that there is no chemistry between Ginger Rogers and Ronald
Colman,one can hardly believe that he is in love with her!The
supporting roles are very fine though,the two Nicks are rather splendid
and Ethel and her mother,too, and even the aunt is great.What really
won me a little bit for the movie is the final courtroom scene, because
by condemning the adulterous behaviour finally the risqué possibilities
of the plot can be discussed and enacted.Now Colman's charm that he had
to suppress throughout is definitely there,oddly mostly in those scenes
when he is alone in his stand and smiling at the accusations that are
uttered against him. Though this whole courtroom business is rather a
spoof especially because the whole affair is ridiculously
overdone,still it is a clever device to get around the censorship of
the Hays code and to maybe slightly rebel against the limitations it
imposes by saying what was considered immoral yesterday might be
considered art or culture tomorrow. Still it is really sad to see
Colman only smiling seductively in court to himself and not to Rogers
in the hotel, so what is is so much less than what could have been.
I'd like to disagree with the previous reviewer in so far as there is a reason given-however stupid it might be-for blowing this case up.As can be seen in the scene preceding the courtroom scene,the reason why the case is handled in such a way is the attraction it brings about and the money it draws into the city.
Lucky Partners was the first of two films that Ronald Colman together
with director Lewis Milestone signed on to make at RKO Pictures. For
box office sake he was lucky to get Ginger Rogers who was their top
moneymaking female star to be the leading lady. Though their styles
don't quite mesh, it's a pleasant enough bit of viewing.
Colman is a reclusive artist and Ginger is a bookseller in Greenwich Village of the Forties, then as now a home and haven for non-conformist spirits. Maybe in another neighborhood a story like this just couldn't happen.
Just one fine day as Colman passes Rogers on the street he wishes her a casual 'good luck'. When she gets the gift of an expensive coat that someone is discarding, Ginger decides that Colman apparently has a lucky streak going. What to do, but bet on the Irish Sweepstakes and take him in as a partner. That does not sit too well with fiancée Jack Carson who is playing a typical Jack Carson blowhard type.
The whole business arrangement in fact the whole business eventually winds up before Judge Harry Davenport who sorts out the legal and romantic complications for all concerned. Very much like Judge Granville Bates does in My Favorite Wife which also came from RKO the same year and is a much better film.
With possibly a different director like Preston Sturges or Mitch Leisen, or Leo McCarey, someone who is known for comedy Lucky Partners might have been a better film. As it is it's pleasant enough viewing for the fans of the leading players, but that's about all you can say for it.
Lucky Partners, released in 1940, paired Ginger Rogers with Ronald
Colman. The movie starts with Colman (Dave Grant) wishing a stranger
"Good Luck!" as he passes her (Rogers playing Jean Newton) on the
sidewalk, catching her off guard. After a brief exchange, they continue
on their ways. Right away, the director is letting us know that this is
a whimsical story, so criticisms about its implausibility should be
It turns out that Jean, who is engaged to Freddy (played by Jack Carson), crosses paths with Dave again, sending the story of this romantic comedy on its way. I was pleased to find this film uses both broad humor and comedic subtlety, with elements of farce. Director Lewis Milestone uses a deft touch to keep us guessing at the next plot twist and to keep the chuckles coming. I'm afraid I was not cognizant of Milestone's accomplishments before seeing Lucky Partners. He won the Academy Award for All Quiet on the Western Front, and directed the excellent Front Page, and the quirky Hallelujah, I'm a Bum. Milestone was known for his innovative filming techniques and his quirky sense of humor.
Ronald is his usual smooth self (does anyone else think Hugo Weaving was copying his voice in V for Vendetta?); Ginger, who I am partial to, plays her vivacious, funny-face persona. She would win the Academy Award for her role in Kitty Foyle, also released in 1940.
There are some humorous supporting cast portrayals, particularly the hotel maid who is the victim of Ginger's curious behavior.
Before it ends, the story morphs into a mystery that resolves in a courtroom setting.
Watch how the director creates viewer interest by allowing action to occur off-screen; he is very good at that. When the two men go into the back alley to fight (off-screen), watch Ginger's face. And you can see the moment (crossing the bridge)when Ginger realizes how much she cares for Ronald, accomplished without words--evidence of Milestone's silent film experience.
I really enjoyed this film.
Ronald Colman fascinates me. Perhaps more than any actor ever to grace
the Hollywood sound stages (and silent-era stages), he is a truly
unique actor. And, as the epitome of suaveness, with that
once-in-a-lifetime voice, like Jack Nicholson and Spencer Tracey, I can
enjoy a Colman film if for no other reason than to revel in his screen
persona. Having said that, this is far from Colman's best film, but it
is pleasant enough. Due to the era -- 1940 -- one might expect this to
be a screwball comedy. Rather, it is a sophisticated comedy, so don't
expect to laugh out loud...it's just not that kind of film. Ginger
Rogers is also very pleasant here, and Jack Carson plays his role of
jilted fiancé perfectly (he really was quite a versatile actor). Some
people believe that the obvious difference in the age of Colman and
Rogers makes this film improbable, yet I can imagine Hepburn and Tracy
in the star roles, and that age difference wouldn't have bothered us.
Spring Byington is pleasant, but in terms of the character actors who
fill out the playbill, it is -- as is often the case - Harry Davenport
(as the judge) that really shines here.
As a Colman fan, I enjoyed this film. It's pleasant, humorous, and heartwarming. It's perfect for a night in front of the fireplace and television.
A romantic comedy along the lines of 'It Happened One Night' (1934) but Ronald Colman is the incognito one. Ginger Rogers isn't in the know but agrees to take a Platonic road trip with him even though she's engaged to someone else. This is pretty risqué material for 1940 and there's a bit at the end which could be interpreted as a jab at the Hays Code (thanks to Equinox23 for that insight). Directed by Lewis Milestone ('All Quiet on the Western Front', 'Of Mice and Men') with a story that keeps one intrigued thanks to its unpredictability, it is a perfectly delightful piece of entertainment guaranteed to leave a warm fuzzy feeling. Several other reviewers here are rather harsh on this film, citing lack of plausibility, chemistry, etc. If you want plausibility see 'Judgment at Nuremberg' but if you enjoy romantic comedy don't let the nitpickers here dissuade you from seeing this charming film.
Ginger Rogers and Ronald Coleman are "Lucky Partners" in this 1940
film, also starring Jack Carson and Spring Byington.
Rogers plays Jean, a young woman walking down the street when she passes Dave (Coleman), whom she doesn't know, and he wishes her "good luck." She delivers a box of books (her mother owns the book shop The Book Nook) to a client. The client is in the midst of getting a divorce and doesn't want a $200 dress chosen by her soon to be ex-husband. So her mother gives it to Jean.
Jean thinks back to Dave's "good luck" and wonders if he just might have something there. She goes to Nick & Nick's, a local store, and decides to buy a sweepstakes ticket with Dave, who's right across the alley. They introduce themselves to one another and after a lot of back and forth, they go in on the ticket.
Jean is engaged to an insurance man (Carson) and plans on moving to Poughkeepsie with him after they're married, with no honeymoon. The condition of Dave going in on the ticket with her is that, if they win, Dave will take her on a trip, platonically of course, before she settles down. This somewhat surprises her fiancée but he agrees to it.
They win, and it's one of those European sweepstakes where if you draw a horse, you either sell the ticket for $12,000, or bet that the horse will win, in which case you will win something like $150,000 American money. They gamble on the race and lose. However, Jean's fiancé, unbeknownst to her, has sold her half of the ticket for $6000. She gives Dave 3000, and he still wants to take her on the trip. She goes.
Ronald Coleman...Jack Carson...now, what do you think happens? This is a slight movie enlivened by the two wonderful stars, Coleman, so dashing and charming, and Rogers, a somewhat naive young woman with a hidden sense of adventure. Rogers always did well playing opposite classy men, Fred Astaire being an excellent example.
Some funny scenes, some sweet scenes. It's not earth-shattering, but I liked it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
While something less than a barrel of laughs, LUCKY PARTNERS is
charming enough for the first hour or so. With Ronald Colman and Ginger
Rogers as its stars, this is hardly a surprise. Though some disagree,
it seems to me that the main conceit is completely plausible. Out of
the blue, a stranger (Colman) wishes a bookseller (Rogers) "Good luck"
as he passes her on the street. As it happens, she immediately has a
stroke of good fortune. Mild superstition being as realistic a trait as
your likely to find in any character, she decides to try her new luck
with an Irish Sweepstakes ticket, going in on it with Colman for good
measure. We see that he's an artist with some sort of personal secret
who has been living in self-imposed isolation for some years. He seems
about ready for some interpersonal contact again, and Rogers is an
undeniably pleasant subject for interpersonal contact. Thus his
These circumstances are then played out in the expected screwball fashion with a heavy accent on the romantic. The Rogers/Colman pairing isn't exactly lightning caught in a bottle but it's pleasant, the supporting characters (Spring Byington, Jack Carson, others) are more than competent. Playing Ginger's aunt, Byington even gets the best line in the movie. About the French novel she's been caught reading: "I know it's not exactly moral, but the French make everything seem so logical." So things are going along okay until, as someone said, they appear to run out of ideas and resort to a final courtroom scene. Not an uncommon way to end a movie in those days, this one is uniquely lifeless and uninspired. We mostly lose the thread of our stars' love story/hijinks and replace these with...what? I'm not sure. I'm not even enamored of Henry Davenport's performance as the judge, too cute by half IMHO, which admittedly may make me unique. In any event, that ending might cause you to forget that what had preceded it, which hadn't been half bad: 5/10 stars.
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