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Based on Hiram Percy Maxim's memoir, 'A Genius in the Family,' this film attempts, rather poorly, to explore the comedic aspects of Maxim's relationship to his father, Hiram Steven Maxim. Taken by itself, it's a rather superficial film about the man who revolutionized the machine gun, by inventing the version that operates on the power of the bullets' expelled gases. Maxim's accomplishments are hardly mentioned, instead depending on the fictionalized relationships between his wife and son. The younger Maxim, by the way, founded the American Radio Relay League, the national organization of radio hams. While he he is famous to that particular fraternity, he is virtually unknown elsewhere, and even his father's fame is now largely forgotten.
As a longtime classic film buff, it's great to come across a worthwhile
film from Hollywood's golden age that I've never knew existed, yet
alone have seen. Doubly nice to find that Don Ameche made a few films
in the years immediately following his departure from Fox; I think
there was no better light comedian in movies.
This one is an expensively mounted romantic comedy-family comedy, shown in a beautiful new print on TCM. Sets and cinematography are elaborate. It's very much in the idiom of "Life With Father" (Myrna Loy was NOT in that one, despite what another reviewer said here) and Lubitsch's "Heaven Can Wait". And almost as good. Ameche and Loy do a masterful job with their light comedy roles, so much so that I could almost ignore that they were too old for the parts they were playing. Loy easily manged to be sexy, charming and beautiful, despite the handicap of overly heavy make up used for the entire film (obviously to hide that she was probably around 40 at the time).
Ameche and Loy are playing roles not unlike more brilliant performances in more brilliant movies during the 1940's. That doesn't make So Goes My Love any less enjoyable despite the unnecessarily esoteric title. A more appropriate title would have been The Unconventional Hiram Maxim - a British-born inventor who lived in Brooklyn and, according to this movie, was fond of eschewing dignity. Loy is as successful here in engaging her co-star in remarkable chemistry and holding her own on the comic front (her smoking of a cigar is hilarious) as she was to be in her upcoming masterpieces Life with Father and Mr. Blanding Builds His Dream House. Ameche, fresh off Heaven Can Wait - one of my personal all-time favorites - and having perfected the inventor biopic in his essay of Alexander Graham Bell, is ideally cast as Maxim and has excellent chemistry with Loy. Add in highly competent support by Bobby Driscoll as Loy and Rhys WIlliams as an equally eccentric portrait painter and you have a highly amusing if episodic 80 minutes of entertainment.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is an odd film. It's a biopic of a real inventor, though in the
film we learn nothing about his inventions. Instead, we learn about his
family life. There's almost no real plot. Just a series of portraits of
three lives -- Hiram Maxim (very nicely portrayed by Don Amece), his
wife (Myrna Loy, who also is wonderful here), and their son (the tragic
Bobby Driscoll). I wish I could tell you what the plot was...but I
can't. It's just a very charming, nicely acted, somewhat lavishly set
period piece. There is a bit more humor than would be realistic, but
the movie is more about relationships.
I guess what makes this film so appealing is the acting. I always felt that Don Ameche had a very strong and likable screen personality, and that is very evident here. The same can be said of Myrna Loy.
I feel at a loss to describe why you should watch this film...yet I recommend you watch it.
Since I'm partial to almost any Myrna Loy film, I recorded "So Goes My
Love" with the intention that I might watch the first 10 minutes and
then hit delete. However, to my delight, this quirky comedy based on
the early married life of Hiram Maxim (Don Ameche) turned out to be
Loy and Ameche made a wonderful screen pair. Always elegantly coiffed and dressed, they are a very attractive couple with perfect chemistry. They both play the "straight man" which makes the humor very subtle and underplayed. It is the opposite of the screwball comedies that I so dearly love. Its quirkiness makes most every scene tongue in cheek funny more so than laugh out loud funny and it works well. I particularly enjoyed the casting of the extremely talented Loy and Ameche as well as a young Bobby Driscoll who plays their son, Percy, with such a natural talent that even he could underplay the humor appropriately.
The movie is actually based on the 1936 book by Percy called "A Genius in the Family." The book was a series of family anecdotes that Percy recounted from his early life. The plot is actually the tying of each anecdote together to make a precious story. There is little focus on what Hiram was inventing as that was not the point of the film since it is really more of a family film. Further reading (which I easily found on the Internet) is necessary if you really want to learn more of the actual Maxim family history. Meanwhile, if you want to relax and enjoy a cute film that was probably laced with lots of Hollywood glamour and fiction, then I recommend this enjoyable gem.
...in giving the 'Green Light' to this picture. As a mid-19th Century
Family Comedy it succeeds in those respects. It Stars Don Ameche (Hiram
Maxim) and Myrna Loy (Jane Budden), his 1st Wife, making a attractive
and winning couple. The film is a polished piece, backed by a fine
musical score by Hans J. Slater. Who showed he could do more then just
provide background music for the Universal stable of Monsters.
Basically 'Maxim' is shown as a 'absent minded professor' who with the push from his Wife becomes a successful Inventor. Though what he invented is barely touched upon. Other then some minor domestic issues the film comes across as a discount LIFE WITH FATHER (1947). Pleasing to watch (one time) and that is about it.
The 'real' MAXIM was the inventor of many useful tools, his most noted one, the MAXIM MACHINE GUN. How did he come up with this? A friend suggested to make a real financial killing that he "...invent something that will enable these Europeans to cut each others throats with greater facility". In this he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams making a fortune, gaining a Knighthood and fulfilling his friends foresight as WWI would show.
A pity the movie did not cover the latter part of his life. The Machine Gun, Amusement Rides, a 2nd Wife and charges of Bigamy would have made a more fascinating film.
Myrna Loy and Don Ameche star in this excellent comedy/drama based on
stories about real-life inventor Hiram Maxim's life. Episodic storyline
has Loy leaving her rural pig farm and heading to the city to marry a
rich man. Instead she meets and marries a poor would-be inventor and
raises a family.
Loy looks great and is excellent as Jane. She gives a warm and funny performance. Ameche is also good as Maxim, the slightly off-center inventor who marches to his own drummer. His inventions are mentioned in passing but show that he becomes a famous and wealthy man. The real story of Maxim and his legal problems with women and many failed inventions is not told.
Bobby Driscoll gives a solid performance as son Percy (who would eventually write the stories the film is based on), a boy definitely in the mold of his father. Others in the cast are Molly Lamont as the cousin, Richard Gaines as blowhard Josephus, Rhys Williams as the artist, Sara Padden and Renie Riano as maids, and Howard Freeman as the committee chairman.
Excellent period production sets and costumes and two star performances make this one a unknown gem worth looking for.
There isn't much of a plot, this film just recounts the trials and tribulations of a gold-digging women who falls for a unusual inventor (who isn't that rich) - but they get married anyway. This isn't a bad film, it just isn't anything spectacular, sometimes it does feel like it isn't going anywhere. That is probably because it isn't actually going anywhere...not that it doesn't make it enjoyable. Maybe it was funny in 1946 - it certainly isn't funny now - but if it's being repeated on television it is good to pass a few hours immersing yourself in this tale. Like many films of this time, it is probably just worth watching it for the interesting old sets.
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