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Norman Z. McLeod
Anne Crandall is the mayor of a small town in Vermont. Her deceased husband had been the mayor for years and when he died, she was left to carry on and to raise his daughter from his first marriage. She lives with the daughter, her father-in-law and a housekeeper. In the town square, there was a statue of her late husband and every year since his death, they have an anniversary celebration there. This year during a thunderstorm, the statue is hit by lightning and the head falls off. The daughter insists that a new statue be erected instead of patching the old one. Mayor Crandall is sent to New York to interview the prospective sculptor, George Corday. While there, she gets involved in a nightclub raid and goes to jail after she is mistaken for the club's stripper. Back at home, she tries to keep the scandal quiet and to forget Corday but he shows up and moves into her garage to work on the statue. Corday playfully uses the scandal to blackmail her into accepting his advances. Ann ... Written by
Even one of the most gifted and effervescent comediennes of Hollywood's golden era can't rescue the weak, silly (and sexist) script. Yet again Hollywood of the 1940s insists that a successful woman isn't complete, and can't be happy, unless she has a man - and invariably the plot is going to demand that she give up her career, because a relationship with a man is the only thing that matters. It's a premise that becomes increasingly hard to swallow as we get further and further away from the 1940s and 1950s. Charles Boyer plays the bohemian sculptor (who dresses like Saville Row) who she enlists to duplicate a statue of her husband, with graces the small town where she is Mayor, having succeeded her husband, who died. Charles Coburn is reliable comedic support, as her father-in-law, who relentlessly insists that her first womanly duty is to loosen up - in later years they'd say that she should get laid - and go for the man. There's a subplot about her precocious teen daughter, who falls for Boyer, and the daughter's lanky boyfriend, who then falls for Dunne. It's a duplicate set-up of an I Love Lucy episode a few years later. The film is forced, far-fetched, silly, basically unfunny. The stars struggle to bring a levity and wit that are simply missing from the dialogue, situations or premise. Dunne is so fetching, physically lovely, at the height of her beauty, and could deliver a line, arch an eyebrow, tilt her head, laugh, and make every man just fall in love with her, me included. She transcends an inferior script, not exactly enough to make the movie enjoyable, since it's mindlessly silly and predictable, and beneath the talents of the principal cast, but she is simply captivating. Charles Vidor also manages to inject some sparkle with his deft touch, to a sparkle-less script.
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