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Josef von Sternberg
Anna May Wong
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Bold, eccentric Broadway performer Liza Madden befuddles her handlers by coming home with a baby she picked up on the street. She wants to keep the baby but has to find a husband to make adoption viable. Why not her new obstetrician Dr. McBain? She offers him help with his research on rabbits in exchange for marriage - and he accepts. The mismatched pair begin a marriage of convenience... Written by
Gary Jackson <email@example.com>
Early in the shooting, Marlene Dietrich tripped while carrying child-actor David James. She twisted her body to save the baby from striking the floor, but severely injured her right ankle in a fall, and her entire right leg had to be placed in a cast. That's why in this film she is always shown in full-length outfits (gowns, slacks, etc.) and just one shot of her unclothed leg is seen, and that is in shadow. See more »
After the date, when at home(at about 01:00:30), the glass and the bottle of milk exchange places in Fred MacMurray's hands when going to the baby's room from the kitchen. See more »
Marlene Dietrich plays "dumb" in uneven sophisticated screwball comedy...
Whatever faults THE LADY IS WILLING has can be traced immediately to the script. Despite this, Mitchel Leisen's direction guides MARLENE DIETRICH and FRED MacMURRAY through their paces and gets some very good performances from both of them. Marlene, in particular, is surprisingly effective playing a naive, bossy, and very "dumb" Broadway actress who casually walks off with a baby simply because it's cute and she can afford to take care of it.
Complications arise, of course, when it's discovered that she's the woman in the screwy hat who took the child away from the scene of an accident. MacMurray is the handsome doctor she calls when she needs help in supervising the child and from then on the story veers between comedy, romance and even drama toward the end.
Dietrich is lovingly photographed, perfectly lit by an astute cameraman no matter what the situation is and glamorously gowned throughout. MacMurray is an old hand at screwball comedy and is thoroughly adept at handling his bumbling chores with his usual expertise.
A couple of good-natured twins were used for all of the baby's scenes and Dietrich seems to really care about how she interacts with the infant. It's an unusual role for her and she demonstrates an ability to toss off screwball dialog with the best of them.
This sort of fluff is given above average handling by Leisen and his stars, although the material itself is decidedly below par screwball comedy that turns maudlin toward the end.
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