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This is a charming film made back when films could be made just to be charming. It is the story of a big city couple that move to a small town to run the little weekly paper there. They find that their big city way of thinking can get them in trouble with small town minds and mores! I especially liked their photo file; when they wanted a picture of an arrogant citizen the only one on file was of him as a baby-naked on a bearskin rug! This film is another that I would love to see restored and made available on DVD.
This film is significant in motion picture history for two reasons. The first is that it is the final feature film appearance of Loretta Young. After this, Loretta only made television appearances. The second is that this is the last film ever made by Gladys George, who died the next year (1954).
Loretta Young, the toothy, huge-eyed leading lady, was known in
Hollywood as "Attila the Nun", due to her evangelical Catholic faith
(which extended to introducing a swear jar on set, something I'll have
to implement at work) and iron will. She may have been voted the
Hollywood Women's Press Club's most cooperative actress of 1950 (Bob
Mitchum scooped their least cooperative actor gong), but then she
always was a sassy self-publicist. Still, despite all that, and the bad
press she's had in recent years for the whole Judy Lewis affair, she
remains an attractive performer: ethereal and appealing in those early
years, then a fitting screen mother as her fascinating looks ebbed
It Happens Every Thursday was her final film and it's a charming piece of Americana: something like the gentle cousin of Sam Fuller's Park Row, with a showy role for Young as the archetypal supportive wife stoic, resourceful and loyal. John Forsythe is a New York newspaperman who buys his own small-town 'paper the Eden Chronicle and finds it's going to need a bit of work. The relationship between Forsythe and screen wife Young is smartly written and delightfully played, and the difficulties they face are nicely realised. The familiar baddie in such movies, a hateful, sniping little gossip gleefully ruining lives, is usually a harridan, but here you get a fey wannabe adulterer, played by Willard Wateman. The rest of the supporting cast is pretty much terrific, featuring the greatest character comic of them all, Frank McHugh, alongside Preston Sturges regular Jimmy Conlin and round-faced Edgar Buchanan, who's excellent in a surprisingly deep role. Best of all is the magnificent Gladys George (also appearing on the big screen for the final time), the most sympathetic brothel owner in '50s cinema. This blend of Johnny Come Lately and Mr Blandings could have seemed stale, but thanks to good scripting, pleasant plotting and lovely acting, it turns out just great.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the 70s in my neck of the woods, old black and whites would air in
the mornings and this one movie about a couple running a newspaper and
a series of events, such as running an old photograph and letting
people guess who it was (an old baby pic was run and finally an elderly
figure spied it and simply stated 'thats me as a wee babe'. The contest
seemed to hit a snag when the home of an eccentric recluse or something
was published) and then all the captivating events of making it rain.
They promised they would! When the husband took off in a plane to drop
dry ice into the clouds to produce rain, but it rained without the ice
being dropped, this seemed to be the pinnacle of the movie.
The couple running the newspaper kept getting on the town's bad side, or controversy would erupt.
I had to ask what movie this was and was finally told it was Loretta Young and John Forsythe.
I thought I already had a review for this one, but I guess not.
Would love to see it again.
It Happens Every Thursday seems to have all the elements in place for a classic comedy along the lines of "The Egg And I." Urbanites Forsythe and Young take over a newspaper in a small town, then get involved in a local scandal of sorts. Forsythe, the handsome urban sophisticate should be perfect for the part, but his lines come off forced. And, he has no chemistry with Loretta Young at all. A few of the gags work well, but most fall tediously flat. Given the presence of Frank McHugh, Edgar Buchanan, Gladys George and others in a marvelous supporting cast, the results are very disappointing.
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