The greedy nephew of eccentric Matilda Reed seeks to have her judged incompetent so he can administer her wealth; but she will be saved if her three long-lost adopted sons appear for a Christmas Eve reunion. Separate stories reveal Michael as a bankrupt playboy loved by loyal Ann; Mario as a seemingly shady character tangling with a Nazi war criminal in South America; Jonathan as a hard-drinking rodeo rider intent on a flirtatious social worker. Is there hope for Matilda?Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
I have a feeling that this picture was meant to be quite different. For one thing, Ann Harding, a woman in her 40s plays an eighty year old. The usual reason for doing this is that the script can have flashbacks (long flashbacks) to her youth. Not here. Since Harding's star had faded years before, she would not have been hired just for the marquee value of her name. There was probably a big chunk of the original script unused.
Her sons have to show up on Christmas eve to show that they can manage her estate, otherwise this management is given to a shady nephew. Similar crises have been a solid structure for films for years. We then see the three sons is scenes from their current lives, every scene in the genre for which each of the three male leads were then famous.This is the great weakness of this movie. These scenes were just poorly, even amateurishly, done. George Brent's romantic comedy was neither romantic nor funny. Poor Joan Blondel wears herself out running around trying to add some humor to the scene, but without funny lines, she can't.
George Raft has gangster/foreign intrigue problems to deal with. He handles his situation quickly, too quickly for any tension to develop. Finally, Randolph Scott is-what else?-a cowboy brought into an adoption racket investigation by Dolores Moran. Moran seems to be imitating Joan Blondel: plenty of movement and energy, but she is sunk by insipid lines. Moran, one of sexiest performers to ever be on the screen, looks almost dowdy and exudes zero sexual energy.
Happy ending, of course. Pleasant enough movie to watch, but what was it supposed to be originally? Probably, a much better movie.
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