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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
She'll do anything to ward off the object of her affections
Norma Shearer, in her last film, is a wealthy woman desperate to stay away from her on-again/off-again boyfriend (George Sanders) in "Her Cardboard Lover." To do this, she has Robert Taylor, a songwriter who's crazy about her, work off his gambling debt by pretending to be her boyfriend.
A nice dramatic role would have been better for Shearer's final performance. But like Garbo, she went out with a comedy, and one that bombed at that, also like Garbo. One wonders what MGM was thinking. The dilemma seems to have been finding vehicles for these older stars as the world - and they - were changing.
The film was made in 1942, and though it is a delightful comedy, it really has the look and feel of the '30s to it. There are some wonderful scenes - one where Taylor threatens to jump over a balcony and a dandy fight scene at the end. But in spots, it seems a little tired.
Norma Shearer wears gorgeous clothes and is over-dramatic, which is what the part called for. Robert Taylor does a fine job, and George Sanders was wasted. One of the comments said that Shearer was too old for the role - yet the actors seem properly matched and this writer, anyway, had no idea of Shearer's age. In the end, though, it wasn't a fitting way for her to go out. The role hearkens back to a much earlier time. Perhaps, in the end, that's what she wanted.
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