Lady and The Champ
This is a tale of opposites attracting and the course of true love flowing like a river of doubt. Irene Dunne plays the lady and Fred MacMurray the boxing champ. Although they come from different worlds, they can't help falling in love--he with her ladylike ways, quiet charm and elegant beauty and she with his sheer manliness and out and out sex appeal. Their wedded/bedded bliss is snatched away all too soon as trainer/manager Charlie Ruggles (best remembered by us baby boomers as Daddy Farquahr on "The Beverly Hillbillies") yanks MacMurray back into his training regimen. Ruggles explains to Dunne why a fighter's wife can't follow him to camp. And although it is unspoken in this 1930s flick, we know that it is because their continued sexual activity would rob him of the strength he needs to vanquish all foes. Ha! Dunne relinquishes MacMurray to Ruggles but only after we learn that she is pregnant. To her this is a greater prize than MacMurray can ever hope to attain in the ring and she hopes that having a child will bond MacMurray even closer to her. Wrong! He doesn't make it to the hospital on time and she is alone, except for her faithful father played here by William Collier. Things only go further south from there. MacMurray spends years chasing the heavyweight championship and misses out on seeing his son grow up, all the while growing more and more estranged from Dunne who is for all practical purposes abandoned. Even when he is home, he seeks out female companionship with the floozy he ran around with before he was married. Dunne rightly divorces him and they share custody of their young son, the only person smart enough to see the wisdom of a reconciliation and their becoming a family once more. This is how the movie ends and just in the nick of time as the closing credits roll as they embrace on the staircase of the family home. This film while well acted feels like a retread, one that Dunne and MacMurray perhaps only fulfilled under contractual terms. Dunne is treated rather like a doormat and her usually strong character is somewhat too submissive to MacMurray's lug nut of a man. Oh well, it is not a total miss. A good enough movie for a way rainy/cold day but that's about it.
- Feb 18, 2017
Contribute to this page
Suggest an edit or add missing content
By what name was Invitation to Happiness (1939) officially released in Canada in English?Answer