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A wealthy woman, trying to discourage a former boyfriend from pursuing her, hires a young songwriter who needs money to pay off his gambling debts to pretend to be her boyfriend. The problem is that the "phony" boyfriend is actually really in love with her. Written by
This is the second attempt to bring Jacques Deval's play to the screen. The first one was a vehicle for Marion Davies and Nils Asther, directed by Robert Z. Leonard. This new version bears George Cukor's signature as the director. The film is interesting for two reasons: it marked the last time its star, Norma Shearer, appeared on a film, and it also has Robert Taylor doing comedy, something he wasn't seen in often.
"Her Cardboard Lover" is a sophisticated comedy that capitalizes on the strength of its stars. The screen play by Valerie Wyngate has some ups and downs in it that even the great Cukor wasn't able to solve. First, there is a marked age difference between the stars, not because Ms. Shearer looks older, on the contrary, she is in excellent form, but Mr. Taylor appears to be much younger.
The film has some good moments for everyone. The best thing Mr. Cukor was able to do was to give the suave George Sanders the part of Tony Barling, the playboy who comes back to claim the love of Consuelo Croyden. They have parted in a bad way, but there's still something between the former lovers. By hiring Terry Trindale as the "fake" lover, in order to make Tony Barling jealous, a new dynamic enters into play.
There are two extraordinary sequences toward the end of the film. The first one is the fight between Tony and Terry in the hotel's pantry when dishes, vases, and all kinds of porcelain gets smashed against walls. The second one is in the court that is presided by judge Sam, brilliantly portrayed by Chill Wills. The acting is first rate by this marvelous cast. In minor roles Frank McHugh and Elizabeth Patterson shine.
The film is a light comedy that is a delight to watch.
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