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In 1923, two young ladies depart unescorted for a tour of Europe, meeting two eligible men aboard ship. Their great naivity and efforts to seem grown-up lead them into many comic misadventures. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In the late 1920s Cornelia Otis Skinner and her friend Emily Kimborough decided to travel to England and France for a vacation. It was the first time they went abroad. Cornelia was the daughter of the notable stage star character actor Otis Skinner, and he agreed to their plans because he would be going to England with his wife shortly afterward and could meet them there and return with them. After the trip was over, the two friends wrote a book THERE HEARTS WERE YOUNG AND GAY about the trip. It became a best seller and was the basis for this 1944 film version.
It is a charming comic travelogue tale, bearing comparison to Jerome K. Jerome's THREE MEN IN A BOAT and ANITA LOOS' somewhat more cynical GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDS, except that this seems to be a true account (although Jerome's book has some elements of truth in it). We watch the two female Candides trying to prove themselves as capable of self-protection (and mutual protection) but not adverse to a little safe romance where they can.
But from the start things keep going awry for them. Nothing major, but all quite embarrassing. When Cornelia (Gail Russell) and Emily (Diana Lynn) are strolling the deck of the ocean liner taking in the cool evening air they pass wealthy, imperious, Alma Kruger. They happen to make a sharp turn while walking around Ms Kruger, and snag her loosely held pocketbook without Ms Kruger noticing. When they notice this they are in their cabin. Before they can return it safely, they hear that Ms Kruger is screaming about being robbed and wanting the thieves arrested. So they have one of their dilemmas: how to get the bag back to the old bat without getting arrested? It is like that (delightfully) throughout the story. When in a boarding house that is cheap but very old fashioned, they are told that if they want to get hot water they have to put a penny in the "Geyser" (pronounced "Geezer"). Naturally, when they see an elderly, crotchety gentleman near the washroom, they give him (the old geezer) a penny which he throws back at them.
Their misadventures follow them throughout the film, even involving their parents (Charlie Ruggles and - in a rare sound movie appearance - Dorothy Gish). Like many others they manage to get lost in the maze at Hampton Court, only managing to drag in Ruggles and Gish and others as well.
This was a nice film, too rarely seen on television (and not - apparently - on video or DVD). It also has it's period charms (the Skinners and Kimborough having dinner at a fancy restaurant, with Skinner/Ruggles ordering a bottle of Mumm's 1928 has a nice touch to it). I think that most of you would enjoy it.
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