Screen Directors Playhouse: Want Ad Wedding (1955)
** (out of 4)
Fifth film in the Screen Directors Playhouse series has Lieutenant Green (Jimmy Lydon) putting an ad in a local newspaper asking for people to show up to his wedding. It turns out that both he and his bride are in the service so they're never together to get married but they can meet this one day in this one town where they don't know anyone. A local paper worker (Sally Forrest) and her father (Leon Ames) talks the paper into sponsoring the event. William A. Seiter directs this episode in the series and the end result was quite familiar with these early episodes. Sadly, this here is yet another one that really doesn't work and for a comedy there's simply not enough laughs to make the film worth viewing. I think the biggest problem is that it seems the screenplay wants to do one thing and the director wanted to do another. There's a very uneven feel going throughout the film and I think the strange pacing and the rather weird situation just never made for a good comedy. Of course, the really bad laugh track didn't help matters but it's weird to hear that not even those on the track seemed to be laughing all that much. The one saving grace are the performances with Lydon coming off charming enough to where you can at least like his character and want to see him pull the event off. Forrest is also very charming in her part and we also get a nice turns by Richard Webb and Fred Clark. Ames is the most memorable name in the cast and he too is quite good in his part but the part itself seems to have been extremely forced. It's as if the director wanted to make it the lead character while the rest of the screenplay was going towards other characters. The ending is pretty good but it's not enough to make up for all the dead air in terms of the lack of laughs.
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