Businessman Jim Murdock is too busy with work to pay much attention to his wife. She is an avid golfer, and soon finds a kindred soul in a man named Johnny Spence. Eventually Jim and his ...
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Businessman Jim Murdock is too busy with work to pay much attention to his wife. She is an avid golfer, and soon finds a kindred soul in a man named Johnny Spence. Eventually Jim and his wife separate, and she turns to modeling to earn a living. Jim, on his part, takes up golf on his doctor's advice. While on the links he makes the acquaintance of Tommy Milligan, an Irish caddie whose philosophy and outlook on life eventually gets Jim to thinking about why his marriage failed, and what he can do about it.Written by
Leo McCarey spent much of his sound career trying to make movies that were serious, sentimental and funny. They reflected his issues as a good son of the Church who never let his concern for his immortal soul interfere with his pleasures. By the time he directed RUGGLES OF RED GAP -- in which Charles Laughton's recitation of the Gettysburg Address is the highlight -- he knew how to play the audience. Whether it was Barry Fitzgerald's 900-year-old mother toddling in from the Ould Sod, faith and begorrah, or the gang of freckle-faced street toughs who sing for Deborah Kerr, because she's from Boston, somehow, and crippled when she got run over by a cab rushing to meet Cary Grant, we know we're being pandered to. We start bawling anyway, because we're suckers. Usually. Occasionally I reach the point where I echo Dorothy Parker's review of THE HOUSE AT POOH CORNER: "Tonstant Weader fwow up."
Here he is in his inchoate form, just after he he left Hal Roach, trying his hand at a serious subject (a breaking marriage, as Edmund Lowe's constant bad temper drives professional golfer wife Leila Hyams away), sentiment ( a mongrel dog owned by the caddy with whom Lowe bonds runs away and winds up in the pound, about to be gassed) and funny -- well, nothing comes to mind. While Leila Hyams is very good and Lowe is adequate, the third member of this trinity is Tommy Clifford as the Irish orphan who caddies for Lowe, and owns the dog which rises from the dead to restore faith, and he is awful.
It's not that writer-director McCarey panders to us. We know he's going to do that, but he leads us up the garden path so clumsily and obviously. We know that, like a modern politician, he doesn't even feel the need to work up a convincing story to cover his multitudes of cinematic sins. He can't even direct dialogue yet!
The excellent cinematography is by George Schneiderman, a warhorse cameraman for Fox in the 1920s. He started out in the teens shooting Theda Bara movies, worked on some fine Borzage and John Ford movies, then faded after Darryl Zanuck took over. PIty.
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