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19 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Sweet, funny, charming

10/10
Author: jennifbebe from St. Paul MN
2 September 2003

I won't bother to rehash the plot details, as others have already done so, but simply wish to express how much I enjoyed this film. It was a real treat from start to finish - slightly offbeat & definitely funny (but not goofy enough to be screwball) and sweet & romantic but not sentimental enough to be sappy.

Director William A. Seiter (who helmed "Sons of the Desert", Laurel & Hardy's best film, as well as other successful comedies) takes what is perhaps a shopworn premise and turns it into something special with the help of two extremely capable stars. John Wayne reveals his often underrated talent for light comedy in this - coming across just as masculine as always but with a sweet, funny softness that makes his Duke Hudkins extremely endearing. Jean Arthur is in a familiar role, playing a quirky but sweet city girl (Molly J. Truesdale) with just the right amount of spunk. Note her unconsciously forward behavior when the two of them first meet - wow! They are surprisingly wonderful together - watch the gentle, tender way the scene in the hay is handled. And never once did I feel like Jean Arthur faded to the background in Duke's presence. (In quite a few of his films, he is so charismatic and powerful a presence that his leading lady winds up looking about as charismatic as wilted celery.)

There are some funny scenes involving long bus rides, cold desert nights, sneezing horses, rodeo "groupies," bucking broncos, and broken cameras. The supporting cast is great, but they haven't much to do as this is really a film about a boy and a girl. Sharp-eyed fans of Gene Kelly and/or Frank Sinatra will recognize Grady Sutton from "Anchors Aweigh" as one of Molly's unspeakably drab beaux.

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Politics Didn't Get in the way

8/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
8 December 2005

A Lady Takes A Chance is a pleasant easygoing comedy about a young working class woman who saves and splurges for a bus tour out west. Jean Arthur as the vacationer gets a whole lot more than she bargains for in the form of rodeo cowboy John Wayne.

The Duke literally sweeps her off her feet after literally landing in her lap. Wayne gets introduced to Arthur when he gets tossed off a bucking bronco right into the front row section where she's seated. It's an interesting courtship because the Duke has a retinue of two others who are above her in his personal pecking order. Sidekick Charles Winninger and his horse Sammy.

In fact Sammy almost breaks the two of them up. Arthur takes a horse blanket meant for him to keep herself warm during a cold prarie night while they're camped out. Wayne has to teach her a bit about western etiquette.

A Lady Takes A Chance though it came out in 1943 had to be backdated to 1938. There were severe restrictions on travel at that time, the movie going public simply would not have bought a story that was current.

In a recent biography of Jean Arthur, Arthur was quoted as saying that she liked the movie and got along with John Wayne. She also says she wouldn't have had she known of his political views. Come to think of it, a whole bunch of Arthur's leading men, Gary Cooper, Joel McCrea, and James Stewart also didn't have views that would have meshed with hers.

Charles Winninger in his one and only appearance with Wayne does well in the sidekick role. Phil Silvers has a small role as a most obnoxious tour guide. I can't imagine going cross country listening to Phil Silvers shtick for a couple of weeks straight.

Jean, good thing you met up with Duke or you should have got your money back. But for the movie going public, A Lady Takes A Chance was well worth the price of admission.

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12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Certainly not a perfect couple

Author: (timmauk@hotmail.com) from st. pete, fl usa
11 September 2001

This is a movie about two people who are the least likely to couple. Our girl Molly(Jean Arthur) is taking a cross the country bus tour to clear her head of men. Seems she has three of them! They just aren't her type though.

Bring in John Wayne as Duke Hudkins. A good looking rodeo rider that runs into our Molly and thinks she would be a great one night stand. That's what he thinks. She does like him alot. He is after all, a REAL man who is unlike the other men she has met in New York. Seems rodeo men are kind of scarce there. The Duke likes women, ALOT, and has no thought of settling down. That's what he thinks. Now Molly wants him bad. How to hog tie this cowboy is the question.

This movie is cute though with an quite impossible plot, but hey it's Hollywood. Not a classic like "Devil and Miss Jones", "Easy Living" or "More the Merrier", but a good film just the same.

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Opposites Attract in 'Boy Meets Girl' Comedy!

8/10
Author: Ben Burgraff (cariart) from Las Vegas, Nevada
14 November 2000

Jean Arthur sparkles in this wartime comedy, as Molly Truesdale, a sweet, pretty salesgirl overwhelmed by 3 overzealous suitors! To get some peace and quiet, she takes a bus tour out west, a trip that sounded romantic in the travel brochures, but grows tedious, after monotonous days pass, and she has to fend off passes by the bus tour guide (Phil Silvers, in one of his many terrific comic relief roles of the '40s)!

Truesdale finally decides to combat her 'cabin fever' on the bus by attending a rodeo. She has a wonderful time, until one of the contestants literally falls into her lap! As the two disentangle themselves, she gets a good look at Duke Hudkins (John Wayne), and it's love at first sight!

Duke is the suitor she'd always dreamed of; handsome, virile, and 'all-man', and she begins a pursuit of the cowboy that is both uncharacteristic for her, and confusing for him! Despite warnings from his best friend, Waco (Charles Winninger) that this girl was after more than just a night of partying and passion, Duke invites Molly out, and the innocent city girl experiences her first evening of carousing! When, at evening's end, she puts the brakes on his amorous advances, he discovers she's not just another 'groupie', and that he's falling for her, too!

A romantic comedy of 'opposites' finding true love, 'A Lady Takes a Chance' benefits from the delightful performances of the two leads! Jean Arthur had a Meg Ryan-like quality of projecting both innocence and sexiness, and she makes Molly's transition from 'pursued' to 'pursuer' both believable, and understandable! John Wayne is equally good, sexy and easy-going, yet conveying Duke's confusion at the feelings he has for Molly, and his gradual realization that he'll have to 'take a chance', himself, to earn her love!

True, the tale follows your basic 'boy meets girl-boy loses girl-boy gets girl' scenario, but under the sure direction of pros William A. Seiter (who directed Astaire and Rogers in 'Roberta', and Shirley Temple, in 'Stowaway'), and Henry Hathaway (the legendary filmmaker who would direct Wayne's Oscar-winning performance in 'True Grit', 26 years later), the story has a freshness and charm that is unbeatable!

Whether you're a Wayne and Arthur fan, or you just love a romantic comedy with a happy ending, 'A Lady Takes a Chance' will bring a smile!

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

I expected a John Wayne movie!

7/10
Author: Steve Haynie from Easley, South Carolina
2 January 2005

I thought I was going to see a John Wayne shoot-em-up western, but instead I got a fun black and white comedy. The only western action is in watching the rodeo scenes. John Wayne plays a total cowboy-- he is stuck in his cowboy ways and loves his horse more than anything else. Although John Wayne's character is prominent in the story, he is obviously not the lead. His character was there for Jean Arthur to play against. I will go as far as saying that the part of Duke Hudkins could have been played by another actor. Even without the John Wayne touch, the movie would have been just as good because of Jean Arthur as Molly Truesdale. It was a good role for Jean Arthur, and she made it the best it could be. This was her movie, and she got top billing.

I love her voice!

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

East meets west. AKA The Cowboy and the Girl.

6/10
Author: Michael O'Keefe from Muskogee OK
23 May 2000

This is a funny and enjoyable movie. Jean Arthur plays Molly Truesdale, a young woman that needs a break from her job and the pursuit of three fellows wanting her companionship. She signs up for a fourteen day bus trip west. The vacation gets interesting when she meets a cowboy at a rodeo. That cowboy is Duke Hudkins (John Wayne), who is smitten with her coy flirtations. There is a magical interaction between Arthur and Wayne that seems to make the black and white film glow.

Phil Silvers plays the tour bus guide. The cowboy's side kick, Waco, is played by Charles Winninger. Also in the cast is Mary Field and Jean Stevens.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

On the other side of Brokeback Mountain

6/10
Author: blanche-2 from United States
21 March 2006

Jean Arthur meets cowboy John Wayne in the 1943 comedy, "A Lady Takes a Chance." Arthur is Molly, a woman with plenty of suitors, though none is a prize, who takes a cross-country bus tour - conducted by Phil Silvers. While watching a rodeo, one of the riders falls on top of her. Turns out it's a fella named Duke (John Wayne). You can just see those pathetic guys at home flash before her eyes as she pulls Wayne toward her for a closer look. She misses her bus.

Given the current talk and late-night comic jokes about "Brokeback Mountain," this movie is extra fun. Wayne has no intention of marrying, though he loves to play the field, and accuses his rodeo partner Waco (Charles Winninger) of acting like "a wife." When Waco advises Molly to go back where she came from and forget about Duke, he sounds like a wife trying to get rid of a mistress, though he really wants to keep her from being hurt. But though Duke does a lot of flirting, Molly learns during a night in the desert that her big competition is Sammy, Duke's horse.

Jean Arthur is slightly miscast as Molly, though she was too wonderful an actress to ever come off as totally miscast. Someone like Betty Grable would have been more of a natural for the role than 40+ Arthur, but then, Arthur's talent helps her make the part her own and interesting besides. Her best scene is in the bar when she drinks cactus milk - hilarious. 27 years after his death, John Wayne is still considered one of the top 10 most popular stars, and with good reason. Tall, handsome, and rugged with a boyish smile, you can see why he'd make Arthur's heart go aflutter. He's usually not listed among favorite matinée idols because he made so many westerns, but make no mistake, Wayne was a hunk in his heyday.

This isn't your 21st century cowboy movie, but it makes for entertaining viewing just the same.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Watch to learn why the Duke was popular with the women

6/10
Author: zuzus 7flowers from United States
14 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this move once ten years ago on late night television, and I was mesmerized by how sexy John Wayne played the love scene, especially when he falls on top of Jean Arthur in the Rodeo. In that scene he exudes masculinity and his voice melts you through the screen. The scene when they kiss is so well done, one of the best kissing scenes on film. There is great chemistry between John Wayne and Jean Arthur's character. The story is weak, yes, and silly, especially the scene that has John Wayne wearing an apron, but his performance is pure heaven. Jean Arthur is, as always, lovable. They are both at the top of their game. This is one that I would have loved to watch in the big screen just to see the kissing scene bigger than life. This film is highly recommended by this reviewer.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

War-time cross country comedy romance

8/10
Author: SimonJack from United States
8 March 2014

Another reviewer noted that the setting for this 1943 movie was 1938, a few years before the U.S. got into World War II. Life went on in time of war in the U.S., and Hollywood made many comedies to help relieve the home front stress and worry about the war. But the country also had rationing, reduced use of gas, and other product restrictions. So, it's not too likely that there were many bus tours around the country, as in this film. And, if there were some, the movie industry wouldn't want to be put on the spot encouraging Americans to splurge in a time of shortage. So, the time of the film taking place was just set back a few years.

"A Lady Takes a Chance" is a fun comedy romance that paired a couple of unlikely stars. Jean Arthur was one of the top female movie comics of the time, and John Wayne was known then for his long string of mostly Westerns. Wayne had ventured into comedy once before, in "His Private Secretary" (1933), and I think he did quite well. This movie showed that he could do comedy well – especially as a straight man against a comic partner.

The Arthur-Wayne pairing works very well in this movie. The Western and war film fans of John Wayne should enjoy this comedy-romance as well.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Rodeo Kind of Guy and A New Yorker Type of Gal

8/10
Author: zardoz-13 from United States
17 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This frivolous but entertaining romantic comedy pairs Jean Arthur with John Wayne. She is a Gotham native about to embark on a bus tour of the Wild West that her guide assures her will be "fourteen breathless days of romance and adventure." Tour guide Smiley Lambert (Phil Silvers) has no idea how prophet he is with his prediction. Native New Yorker Mollie J. Truesdale (Jean Arthur of "Only Angels Have Wings") cannot leave the Big Apple without her jealous suitors bidding her good bye. They consist of Gregg Stone (Hans Conried), Bob Hastings (Grant Withers), and Malcolm (Grady Sutton), and they hate to see her depart for the wide, open spaces. The bus pulls into the Fairfield, Oregan, rodeo, and Mollie decides to watch these antics. She decides to snap a picture and has to go to the edge of the arena to shoot it. As it turns out, she gets too close to the edge, and one of the rodeo cowboys, Duke Hudkins (John Wayne of "The Big Trail"), is hurled into the stands and lands atop Mollie. This is about as spontaneous as "A Lady Takes A Chance" gets. These two decide to date each other, and they have a fairly good time. Mind you, Duke has no plans to get hitched. True to the sure-fire formula, the good feelings that brought Duke and Mollie together slacken after she deprives her cowboy boyfriend's horse of a blanket. Basically, this is guy meets gal, guy loses gal, and guy wins gal back. Altogether, "A Lady Takes A Chance" is disposable but lightweight fun. John Wayne delivers one of his better performances as a wandering rodeo star.

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