A young man falls in love with a girl from a rich family. His unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life is met with skepticism by everyone except for his fiancée's eccentric sister and long suffering brother.
In suburban Lochester, New England, three people end up living together in high school teacher Nora Shelley's rental house. The first is her new tenant, renowned Harvard law professor Michael Lightcap, who has rented the house for the summer while he writes his new book. The second is Nora herself. Despite having an auspicious first meeting, Lightcap hires Nora to be his live-in cook and secretary for a week until his manservant Tilney arrives. The third is Joseph, the property's gardener, who is currently laid up with a sprained ankle. In reality, Joseph is Nora's childhood friend Leopold Dilg, who has just escaped from prison. Leopold was being tried for the arson of the factory where he worked, and for murder for the death of the factory foreman Clyde Bracken, whose body was never recovered but who is assumed to have died in the fire. Despite the danger to herself, Nora hides Leopold since she believes his story that although he, as an activist, did speak out about the dangerous ... Written by
A superb comedy from 1942, written by Sidney Buchman and Irwin Shaw, and directed by George Stevens, this movie has a little bit of everything in it: comedy, drama, social commentary, suspense and mystery. It also features three of the most charming stars to ever grace the screen: Cary Grant, Jean Arthur and Ronald Colman. As this was filmed on the Columbia lot it has a Capra-esque feel to it. There is also a dark, austere quality to the photography and lighting that evoke the wartime mood, otherwise not evident in the film.
The story concerns Cary Grant escaping from jail and hiding out in the summer cottage of middle-aged bachelor law professor, Ronald Colman. Grant's character (named Leopold Dilg, who has a fondness for borscht with an egg in it), was falsely accused of burning down a textile mill. Jean Arthur's local gal vacillates bewteen these two very different men, who, as things turn out, get on quite well with one another. Grant teaches Colman a thing or two about real life, while Colman instructs Grant in the law. The problem is that the gentle professor doesn't know that Grant is in trouble with the law. Things gets awfully complicated near the end, as the story turns melodramatic, not altogether happily, as it had been for the most part up till this time a warm, funny study in character and mistaken identity.
Overall, the movie is hard to fault. The actors are so engaging and the dialogue so good, one can forgive almost anything. There's a nicely suggested small-town New England feel to the film, which does not caricature Yankee types, as was so often the case at the time, and is most refreshing here. Grant is, as usual, so excellent that one forgets that he is acting, as he manages to suggest working-class origins, genuine intellectual curiosity, and a hint of anger, especially in the eyes, as his performance perfectly sums up what the film is about, without drawing too much attention to itself. A remarkable achievement, for Grant, director Stevens, and everyone involved in this happy production.
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