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Theater manager James Guthrie's career depends on famed soprano Elsa Terry singing in his Buenos Aires opera house, however, Elsa breaks the contract in favor of a more lucrative deal in Paris. Desperate, James begins showering her with flowers and candy in an attempt to woo her to the Argentinian opera house. When Elsa overhears James confess to his friend Pancho that he'd be willing to resort to kidnapping to get Elsa to Argentina, she mistakenly believes his motives to be solely romantic.Written by
As far as Grace Moore films go, 'Louise' and 'One Night of Love' are better films, but having been let down by 'When You're in Love' (yes even with the presence of Cary Grant) 'I'll Take Romance is superior to that. Haven't seen 'Jenny Lind' yet, but am in two minds as to whether it will be good or not.
'I'll Take Romance' is not a great film, but it's good fun and it is difficult to not be taken by its charm. The story is slight, it's also predictable and gets sometimes on the wrong side of incredibly silly. Moore showed in other films that comedy comes naturally to her, but they were films with a frothier approach. Here the timing (as it's more screwball-like comedy) needed to sharper and wittier and she struggles a little.
Have to concur also that, as good as the operatic music is as music on its own, other films have done much better jobs at integrating opera into their stories. Here they are well sung (though Butterfly is rather heavy a role for Moore's voice from personal opinion), but it does feel like they are there for the reason of having opera to showcase Moore's voice without finding a way to weave it into the story in a relevant way, consequently they do slow the film down, especially when the scenes from 'Madama Butterfly' and 'Martha' are long. A couple are more interesting than others, coming off least is actually the least known one 'Martha', it was interesting to see and hear a non-standard repertoire excerpt but the staging was static and indifferently directed.
On the other hand, 'I'll Take Romance' is a beautifully photographed and produced film and mostly very nicely directed (only 'Martha' doesn't quite come off, and it could be to do with that the drama in the opera is not the most compelling in the first place, not bad as such but there are operas that are more involving dramatically in general). The music is wonderful especially the title song, there are no qualms with the music itself it's just the placement.
Scripting is witty, funny, frothy without being shallow and don't fall into schmaltz. Moore is charming and likable, though her character frustrates at times, while Margaret Hamilton and Stu Erwin provide sterling comic support. Best of all is debonair Melvyn Douglas, a role that fits him like a glove and one that he can do in his sleep and still engage the pants off you, a contender for Moore's best leading man. The romantic chemistry is sweet without being sentimental and endearing.
To conclude, charming, romantic and fun, reservations for the story and placement and timing of the operatic excerpts aside. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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