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Col Needham <email@example.com>
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Well what are we going to do?
We are going to take what's left to us. Why we haven't even a minute to waste on being sad. Come on. Let's hurry.
Well where should we go?
Oh I don't care. Just so there are people and music and we can be gay.
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A rarely shown yet heartwarming romantic comedy and one of Hedy Lamarr's best films
1941 was a busy year for Hedy Lamarr, the Austrian-born actress who was under contract to the MGM studios and was labeled as the world's most beautiful woman at the time. She completed three films that year: COME LIVE WITH ME, ZIEGFELD GIRL, and the excellent drama H.M. PULHAM, ESQ. While she played a small and unnecessary supporting role in the lavish yet average musical ZIEGFELD GIRL, she starred in the other two films and gave the best performances of her career. Hedy's sincere performance in this film received glowing reviews, particularly from the New York Daily News: "The doubters will be converted after seeing Hedy Lamarr in this picture Here, she takes off that glamorous mask and, more beautiful than ever, gives a touching performance with all the varying facial expressions necessary to make her characterization sympathetic and human. Her speaking voice has improved, also. It is no longer monotonous but rich and flexible."
This special little film, while not on video or DVD at present, pops up occasionally on Turner Classic Movies and it is definitely a keeper if you happen to catch and record it. I won't bother mentioning the plot like the other comments, so instead I'll deliver some behind-the-scenes information. For once, Hedy was given a satisfactory script and soon she found herself costarring with an MGM contract star at the time, James Stewart. James and Hedy were required to play themselves here: James is his honest and shy self, while Hedy is an intelligent and ladylike Viennese refugee. James and Hedy liked each other immensely and became fast friends, which made for harmonious and ideal working conditions on the set. Such conditions show in the finished film: the film is a sheer delight, containing a far-fetched yet charming screenplay by Patterson McNutt and an engaging supporting cast. All the characters are appealing, particularly Donald Meek as a tramp and Adeline De Walt Reynolds as James' wise grandmother.
Under Clarence Brown's direction, everything comes together well. The production values are lush as with most MGM films, composer Herbert Stothart contributes a fine music score that perfectly accents the on screen action, and George Folsey's black-and-white cinematography is beautifully lit. Special mention should go to the amusing cartoon caricatures of James and Hedy in the film's opening titles, designed by MGM publicity artist Jacques Kapralik, and the final shot of the two stars breaking the fourth wall!
Despite the charm and high quality COME LIVE WITH ME contains, it's really sad that Hedy never again received material as worthwhile as this or H.M. PULHAM, ESQ. At the time, MGM produced several superior films with European female protagonists: Nina Ivanoff in NINOTCHKA (1939), Freya Roth in THE MORTAL STORM (1940), Anna Holm in A WOMAN'S FACE (1941), and Toni in THE SEVENTH CROSS (1944). With the guidance of the expert directors for these films, Hedy could have played all these roles well. Instead the roles respectively went to Greta Garbo, Margaret Sullivan, Joan Crawford, and Swedish newcomer Signe Hasso. Hedy was continuously given mediocre scripts that solely displayed her magnificent beauty and not her acting ability.
Despite the film's somewhat underdeveloped characters, this delightful romantic comedy clocks around at a brisk 86 minutes and is a worthwhile film to pass the time. And Hedy Lamarr has never looked lovelier in black-and-white than in this film.
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