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Mark Christopher is a 35-year old, award-winning comedy scriptwriter who is struggling to be taken seriously as a drama writer. On Christmas Eve, two police officers bring 17-year old Susan (picked up for vagrancy and brawling) to Mark's apartment. If she spends a few days with him, Mark could use Susan as inspiration to write a script about juvenile-delinquents and Susan could avoid spending Christmas behind bars. Written by
Witty romantic comedy with a superior cast. Contains some of the sloppiness one would expect from RKO under Hughes. Powell's character has supposed to possess one of the first writing Oscars, yet he is only 35 (26 years after the first Academy Awards). Spotting Reynolds using Oscar as a nutcracker, Powell drops lit cigarette on carpeted floor. Reynolds offer Powell scrambled eggs; Powell and Reynolds are then seen eating eggs "over easy." However, even Hughes' RKO can't ruin wonderful performances from Powell, Reynolds, and a fine supporting cast. I rate this movie very highly because, underneath the frothy comedy is some very uneasy themes, which would garner such a movie an "R" rating today, assuming it could be made. Though by SUSAN, the 22 year old Reynolds was a real Hollywood veteran (she'd made SINGIN IN THE RAIN two years earlier), she plays a 17 year old (which she continued to do for at least the next three years; witness TAMMY AND THE BACHELOR) Powell's at ten years too old for the part, making the May-December romance issue REALLY stick out. This movie is a "coming of age" film for the characters portrayed by Powell, Reynolds and the character "Maude," Powell's man-hungry writing assistant (Always wondered if Rose Marie's character on DICK VAN DYKE was modeled on this character). Powell's Mark and Reynolds' Susan walk a slender tightrope which IS the "father-daughter / daughter-wife" romantic conflict. Mark is a lifelong bachelor, apparently unable to commit, unsure what he really wants. Susan is a young romantic, certain of what she wants, ready to commit. The movie has a good romantic score and a great ballad, "Hold My Hand." One shudders at what Hollywood would do with such a story these days. These days they usually kill one of the members of such a match, even when the female is in hear twenties. Make the girl 17 (such as here) and I doubt any studio would release it. MEMO TO HOLLYWOOD: Justice William O. Douglas and Charlie Chaplin both had "child brides." Sometimes, these things work. No one would believe Mark could keep his hands off Susan, since the "moral restrictions" so prevalent up to 1960 no longer exist. Food for thought...
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