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Teenaged Susan Turner, with a severe crush on playboy artist Richard Nugent, sneaks into his apartment to model for him and is found there by her sister Judge Margaret Turner. Threatened with jail, Nugent agrees to date Susan until the crush abates. He counters Susan's comic false sophistication by even more comic put-on teenage mannerisms, with a slapstick climax. —Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Screwball Comedy With Strong Characters and Older Generation Angst
This film is one of the most copied in the history of Hollywood, I claim. I find it is clever without being profound, its characters are unusually believable and well-developed; and it is a light-hearted look from beginning to end at a very interesting plot question--the precocity of young people who lack categorizing definitions, life-experience and therefore the context to make prioritized value decisions; in a word, it's about the problems adults have with children who want to act as grown ups without having the means to do so successfully. The central character of this film is a successful bachelor named Richard Nugent. Through no fault of his own, the artist ends up in court before Judge Margaret Turner who recognizes his innocence but warns him not to appear before her again on a similar charge, caused by a lady in a night club.,. The situation then become complicated by Nugent's appearance before a high-school class as speaker, an event at which Margaret's daughter falls in love with him despite or because of the difference in their ages. Margaret enlists his help when a casual put-off remark results in the daughter's showing up at Nugent's apartment to be painted. Her idea is to have him continue to see Susan, in the hopes the daughter will realize she belongs with someone nearer her own age. The result is merriment that takes many forms, including physical contests at a picnic where Nugent finds himself the rival of Margaret's boyfriend while trying to lose for Susan's sake; a basketball game where he must champion her erstwhile beau from the bleachers; and family occasions where the dialogue turns frequently hilarious. The best thing about this screwball comedy, to me as a writer, is the gradual development of relationships it allows the audience to share. Fundamentally, the film concerns five persons--Nugent, played with charm by Cary Grant, intelligent Myrna Loy as Margaret, pretty Shirley Temple as a fast-growing Susan, her daughter, Rudy Vallee as Grant's rival, prefiguring his stuffy role in "How to Succeed in Business" and other comedies, and Lillian Randolph as long-suffering Bessie, the family's maid and confidant-adviser. The happy ending achieved for all in this story-line is the result of the common sense shown by Loy and Grant; the 'screwball' aspect which is not a genre, but rather a way-of-handling social-mores comedy, is here made to serve a plot that involves several hard-working normative people in a situation that should never have happened but has in fact happened. The production values of this bright comedy are far-above-average I suggest in every respect. Leigh Harline's music is understated and very useful, and the cinematography by Robert de Grasse and Nichloas Musuraca is high-contrast B/W and very good in a number of types of scenes. Director Irving Reis and writer Sidney Sheldon keep the film's pace and style very swift and consistent. Art Direction by Carroll Clark and Albert S. D'Agostino and the set decorations by James Altwies and Darrell Silvera add to the elegance and fun of the production. Edward Stevenson provided the gowns. Among the cast, Cary Grant is very-well cast it seems to me as the suave, womanizing and genial Nugent; he also portrays exasperation very nicely, and his reading of comedic one-liners is one of his best professional strengths. Myrna Loy suggests her sensuous side so well that she fits perfectly the stuffy role of a judge who is decidedly unstuffy. Her confidant in the film other than Randolph is Ray Collins, always a great listener and man with a wisecrack or sage advice. Temple is very good indeed as a teenager; her teenaged films are for me the best of her filmic outings. Vallee created a whole new career for himself as droll comedic second-lead with this impersonation; and Randolph is very strong as the understanding servant-cum-friend. Others in the cast include Veda Ann Borg, Dan Tobin, Harry Davenport and Ransom Sherman. All the younger people in the film are well-chosen by my standards. The film introduces the nonsensical "You remind me of a man" mnemonic, which became the springboard for "The Power", Frank M. Robinson's sci-fi classic, and a fine film of the 1960s. This is a dialogue and situation comedy with elements of satire and more. It is frequently as good as its award-winning screenplay would lead one to expect it would be, and then some. Civilized angst about the younger generation perhaps never seemed to be funnier than in this movie.
- Aug 15, 2005
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By what name was The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947) officially released in Canada in English?Answer