A struggling painter takes a job as a secretary to a female advertising executive. While working to obtain an account from a tobacco company, they end up falling in love. Written by
Ken Carson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
You're a beautiful brain and beautiful clothes. No temperature, no pulse. That's all.
Where did you learn about women, Verney?
It isn't a matter of learning. It's instinct.
I'm a brain with no pulse, eh? I'm a woman, Verney, more woman than you'll ever know.
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At the end of the last scene, the camera zooms in on a billboard, which shows the closing credits...and an ad for the film's fictional tobacco company. See more »
The title of this comment is not reflective of this movie, a witty and expertly-handled farce; a shiny, energetic bit of bric-a-brac representing a memento of what we'll look back on one day as the high point of American popular entertainment (if not American civilization - once so down-to-earth, and disarmingly unpretentious). Rather, it refers to the sad reality of what the powers that be are allowing to befall the pre-1950 Paramount back catalog, as vital a part of American cultural history as any you'd care to name. Whether it's Sony, or Universal, or Vivendi into whose corporate clutches the rights have now fallen, I've frankly lost track of - it's one of them, though (and maybe all three).
Point blank: these films are not being cared for, let alone properly restored. You see it time and again with vintage Paramount films - if it's a famous title they're sure they can make money on (like DOUBLE INDEMNITY, say, or the ROAD comedies or Sturges classics) the print looks and sounds pristine; but these days - if it's one of the hundreds of less-well-remembered Paramounts - invariably the picture is bleached and indistinct, the sound deteriorated, and the entire experience of watching the film deeply compromised. There's no other word for it than "disgraceful" (particularly as it's been Sony/Universal/Vivendi who've been keeping these films OUT of circulation for decades now, resulting in their less-well-remembered status in the first place!) if for no other reason that it robs us, and future generations, of the joy of REdiscovery that's such a rewarding aspect of watching vintage Hollywood films; of seeing, and appreciating, aspects and nuances that its contemporary audience perhaps missed, or weren't even looking for, the first time around.
I'm possibly making a mountain out of a molehill here, and particularly in TAKE A LETTER's case, as the picture is soft but certainly still watchable, though the crispness and contrast of the original image isn't there. (The the cast-listing after the picture ends, however, is so washed out it's utterly illegible. You can barely make out a single name.) And compared to the unmitigated audio-video horror that is now SWING HIGH, SWING LOW (another Fred MacMurray Paramount comedy, screened by TCM a few weeks ago), TAKE A LETTER is flawless by comparison. But it bothers me no end that seemingly nothing is being done to restore, to save, these movies. Paramount wasn't PRC or Monogram, for God's sake: their roster of pre-1950 features are easily the equal of Warners, MGM....any of the other majors. How is it possible that a billion-dollar entertainment conglomerate, even though it's one unconnected to the making of these pictures, can show such casual contempt for film history? "Lost" films are one thing; this is more like watching them being abandoned. Maybe an old-fashioned write-in campaign is called for.
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