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A former reporter comes back home after serving in the army during World War I and finds that it's much more difficult to find work than he expected. Desperate, one day he crashes a wedding attended by many of the city's rich and powerful, meets a beautiful girl named Kay who turns out to be his ticket to meeting those rich and powerful people, and he soon manages to land a job on a newspaper. He gets caught up in the "make money at all costs" game, but receives a rude awakening when the stock market crashes in 1929. Written by
Angela Lansbury, who could sing, resented that in this and her other MGM films the studio insisted on giving her a voice double. Years later she had stage hits on Broadway in two singing roles, "Mame" and "Sweeney Todd." See more »
During conversations in automobiles, rear-screen projection shows 1940s era cars, long after time story took place. See more »
When The Thin Man series was in high gear one of the endearing parts of those films is how Nick Charles would constantly be running into various criminals he'd had dealings with in the past. Usually he'd run into them while out with Nora and it was always fun to see how Nora took to these characters, people she wouldn't in a million years be associated with herself.
I think that MGM thought it was funny too so William Powell was cast as a returning veteran from World War I who as a newspaper reporter before the war apparently had a similar rogue's gallery of friends. It didn't really work here though, Powell is cast in a part that probably would have fit James Cagney or even Spencer Tracy better.
Plus the fact that in 1946 William Powell was 54 years old. Esther Williams in her memoirs thought it was ludicrous to be working with a man twice her age as a romantic couple. She describes in her memoirs the elaborate makeup preparation Powell went through and in fact he had to wear a girdle to keep his middle age spread from showing too much. According to her, Powell thought it just as ludicrous and in fact would be doing the lead in Life With Father the next year, a role far better suited to his age and talent.
Of course any film that utilizes the combined talents of James Gleason, Slim Summerville, Frank McHugh, and Rags Ragland as the four Damon Runyonesque characters in Powell's life can't be all bad.
Powell is a returning veteran from World War I who can't get his old job back as a reporter in Baltimore. So by hook or crook he makes a great deal of money, some of it by tactics this side of a con game. He meets two women in his life, socialite Esther Williams minus pool and nightclub singer Angela Lansbury dubbed in this film.
He's got these characters though who he likes but are becoming quite a burden around his neck. When Gleason gets pinched for bookmaking he makes up a religious yarn about a mysterious St. Dismas, the good thief crucified with Jesus as the one who gets the Deity to move in mysterious ways. Gleason gets sprung and it works too well as he becomes a fanatic on the subject. Powell, caught up in his own chicanery, becomes a big mover and shaker in a St. Dismas foundation.
It's not a bad story, nostalgic for its times as the action starts at the end of the previous World War. It also could have used someone like Frank Borzage, or Henry Koster, or even Frank Capra who dealt better with this kind of material.
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