Reviews written by registered user
|12 reviews in total|
What an absolutely delightful find! According to Robert Osborne of TCM, these "quota quickies" were made by Warner Brothers at their Teddington Studios in England in order to comply with a British law requiring that a certain percentage of films shown there be domestic products. It's the story of an upper-class, but broke, ne'er-do-well (Ian Hunter) who hooks up with a street urchin (John Singer). The chemistry between the two is marvelous, and they are supported by a fine cast, including Nancy O'Neil as the love interest, Peter Gawthorne as her father and Muriel George as the landlady. The film is fast-paced and replete with snappy dialog. It's charming, funny and touching.
I found this to be a tremendously disappointing version of a charming
story. I thought the acting was on the whole quite good. Reginald Owen
did chew the scenery, as mentioned by others, but I found him
moderately amusing in his brief scenes. TCM has made an Ann Harding fan
of me, and I thought she was fine as usual here. Jessie Ralph had a
field day as the old battleaxe, ordering everybody around, and Frank
Morgan, as always, played Frank Morgan with a twinkle.
For me, the problem was the script and/or the editing--transitions were awkward, motivations were murky. The movie was just too darned short to convey the story properly! I felt completely let down, particularly since I had such fond memories of the later version.
This melodrama pulls out all the stops. It features a lovely,
self-sacrificing nurse who is used by a ne'er-do-well who deep down
*wants* to be a good guy, a "French" danseuse born on 10th Avenue, a
Russian opera singer (Kathryn Sergava) who places her life in the hands
of said ne'er-do-well, a once-prominent doctor (David Landau) who has
hit the skids, a brash publicity agent (Allen Jenkins), a mousy, but
competent doctor(Donald Meek) who partners with our hero to make him
look good, and a passel of neurotic society lady patients.
Two people flirt with death on the operating table. One person forgets to look both ways before stepping off the curb, with disastrous results. There is on-again, off-again romance. There is even a machine that performs a seemingly medically impossible task! All in all, the plot is beyond belief.
That said, Warren William and Jean Muir make the most of their lead roles. Muir is especially charming, and really saves the film from being a complete waste. Jenkins, Landau, Meek, and Sergava are also fine in support. Too bad the script wasn't a little stronger.
This film gets off to a very slow start with a scene where an old New
England farmer drives a tax accountant from the city nuts with his
convoluted tales of bartering and swapping; being an accountant, he
just wants the numbers. This went on so long, I almost gave up before
the movie got underway, but I'm glad I stuck with it. It's not a great
story, and it's certainly not what you'd call a Bette Davis film--she's
a secondary character.
What it does do very well is to depict a rural American life that is long gone--listening in on the party line, sharing preserves with the neighbors, a taffy pull, and especially singing. The folks all gather at the preacher's house to sing the traditional American standards of the day, accompanied by the preacher's wife on a pump organ: "Love's Old Sweet Song," "Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet," "Seeing Nellie Home," and the like. I imagine these are mostly forgotten today, and it's nice to see them preserved in a relatively realistic context such as this. An unexpected pleasure.
This film seems to be an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the
Thin Man, which came out the previous year, and while Young and
Cummings are fine, they can't match either the urbanity or the
chemistry of Powell and Loy. The acting is generally top-notch,
although Sally Eilers' overwrought hysteria becomes really grating
The drinking here seems more witless and reckless than in the Thin Man; at one point speeding drunken driver Young barely misses being flattened by a train, resulting in general hilarity among his passengers. Several times he is shown going 90 mph while plastered, once with a police detective as a passenger! All very cute in 1935, I guess.
There's a lot of amusing 30's banter, especially in the early part of the film. The plot is of the usual type for a murder mystery of the period, with the suspects gathered in the drawing room, and the announcement of the murderer's name, although there are some twists. I did think it was just a little bit too much to believe when the detective allowed the apparently guilty party to get a smoke from their own cigarette box--resulting in silly, cheap theatrics that added nothing to the plot.
It appears that there's no middle ground on this movie! Most of it
takes place in a dream and, like most dreams, it's often foolish and
illogical. It's also a gorgeous production with some great songs and
fine performances, especially by our angel.
Jeanette's deadpan, unknowing insults and various other faux pas at the dream reception are hilarious, and her jitterbug with Binnie Barnes is a surprise and a delight. At one point, she gets to sing a snippet from Carmen, followed by the final trio of Faust (holding a lapdog, for some strange reason), then "Aloha Oe" on the beach!
It's a surreal comedy--tremendously entertaining if you can get into the groove.
Through no fault of the players, this must be one of the worst major
studio films of a great year for cinema--1939. Jeanette is charming as
always, although I'd like to see her try Butterfly on stage without
amplification. I'm afraid the orchestra would win that round! That
said, she warbles beautifully and is great fun to watch.
Lew Ayres plays a nearly saintly husband (albeit with a temper) and the supporting cast is just fine. The problems: a hackneyed script, and an incredibly tasteless and vulgar Busby Berkeley number to end the affair. Of course we expect BB's numbers to be over the top, we just don't expect them to be so poorly designed. Without this final extravaganza, I'd have given this a 5 at least, but after seeing that debacle, I'm giving it a 3.
Helen Hayes never had great success in the movies, but this is the best
of her film performances that I've seen so far. Her Scottish accent is
convincing, she's charming, and she conveys Maggie's underlying
strength with great subtlety.
Brian Aherne is charismatic as the young politician Maggie is attracted to; he allows us to see through his egotism to the vulnerability and insecurity just below the surface.
The beautiful and talented Madge Evans is fine in the "other woman" role. Supporting stalwarts Lucile Watson, Donald Crisp, Dudley Digges, David Torrence, and Henry Stephenson are all well-cast, and turn in wonderful performances.
I had no idea what to expect from this film, but I found it highly enjoyable, with gentle humor, light drama, and romance that won't send your blood sugar into orbit.
This early Kay Francis vehicle is quite an enjoyable potboiler. Kay had
not yet developed the sophisticated, edgy style she was so famous for
later in her career. She starts out a rather naive young bride who is
dumped off in Paris by her older husband while he toots off to India
for a year. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to figure out the
general direction the plot will take, but Kay makes makes her
metamorphosis from sweet young thing to party girl quite believable.
The rest of the cast is at least adequate, but it's really Kay's movie
all the way.
The plot has some clever, if improbable, twists and the timing coincidences are beyond belief even for Hollywood. Not a great film, but definitely worth a look for pre-Code aficionados and Francis fans.
Loretta Young is perfectly lit here, which enhances her beauty immeasurably, and she is quite believable in this role. I first saw her in her later movies--and on her TV show, swirling through the door every week--so it's quite a revelation to see her at the absolute peak of her talent and looks. Winnie Lightner does her usual gum-chewing, wisecracking shtick, and the rest of the cast is quite good. The script is a little weak, and things get a bit maudlin at times, although the pre-code one-liners are fun. (Winnie, as her bloomers blow off the makeshift clothesline and out the window: "Oh, that was my last pair of panties!" Loretta: "What will you do?" Winnie: "Stay off of ladders!")
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