Let's Live a Little (1948) Poster

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Works As Light Entertainment; Achieves Only Part of Its Potential
Snow Leopard11 August 2005
This B-feature has several strengths that give it potential, as the three main characters are all well cast and acted, and the subject matter is just as topical now as it was then. It also makes numerous efforts to be creative in the use of double exposures and other such techniques. Though it does not capitalize on all of its opportunities, it's a solid movie that's worth seeing.

The story focuses on the ways that romantic attentions, both wanted and unwanted, can get tangled up with workplace and professional responsibilities. It sets up a lot of possibilities, though much of the time the script settles for light humor rather than trying to get more out of a given scene. It does work well enough as a light romantic comedy, and indeed many other movies over the years have had the same options and have made the same choices.

Hedy Lamarr gives the best performance, as a psychiatrist/author whose professional and personal feelings become intertwined. Her character is interesting, and it's a little unfortunate that her dialogue was not written more carefully. But she does quite well with what she has to work with. Anna Sten works well as an amorous cosmetics tycoon. Robert Cummings is believable and likable as an advertising executive, although he sometimes portrays his character as a bit too much of a bungler. Robert Shayne is adequate, though often rather dull, as the fourth of the major characters.

Overall, "Let's Live a Little" is a decent movie to watch as light entertainment when you don't want to think too much. Its low-budget look and its general avoidance of the more interesting possibilities keep it from being much more, but a movie like this can be worth watching if your expectations aren't too high.
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Diagnosis: Indifferent Script
Varlaam22 February 1999
The situation has potential. A stressed-out ad man meets a beautiful shrink. Object: psychiatric humour. And maybe a little romance.

Unfortunately, the result could best be described as innocuous, like some sort of benign medical condition.

Bob Cummings plays his usual amiable self. But the real reason anyone would watch this film is, of course, Hedy Lamarr. She looks the way one would expect Hedy Lamarr to look in 1948. Fantastic. She is forced to wear an off-the-shoulder gown at one point to better show off her ... scintillating jewellery. The real conundrum is how Hedy avoided being the top pin-up of World War II. Maybe it was the saltpetre they put in the army chow.

Hedy's real-life role as a torpedo guidance system designer -- apparently that story about her is absolutely on the level -- is easier to accept now after seeing her as a no-nonsense, supercilious psychiatrist, sort of an early prototype for Dr. Lilith Sternin Crane.

The two Roberts -- Cummings and Shayne -- compete for the attention of Hedy. This gets a little childish with Shayne trying to pump himself up physically at one point. Also, characters often gaze at one another, then see the other person transformed inside a shimmering aura into the object of their true desire. Funny, but both these plot elements -- childish male competitiveness, and idealized shimmering figures -- appeared in a far superior film, "The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer", the previous year, 1947. I'm sure it's just a coincidence.

The film has some silly "psychological" dream sequences which are played for laughs, and which for contemporary audiences may have been a mild spoof on Hitchcock's "Spellbound" from 1945.

Anyway, it's too bad that all this seems to add up to so little in the end. Bob Cummings co-produced this film. It's a pity he couldn't have hired a script doctor.
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Let's Love a Little
wes-connors6 June 2010
Workaholic advertising executive Robert Cummings (as Duke Crawford) is beginning to hear silent telephones ringing and can't remember funny Mary Treen. Showering at the office, Mr. Cummings decides he doesn't like women, who insist on the handsome man's account handling. One client, seductive Anna Sten (as Michele Bennett) won't sign her company's contract because she wants to continue being courted by Cummings. He tells senior partner Harry Antrim (as James Montgomery) to dismiss Ms Sten, and is given a job promoting a self-help book - entitled "Let's Live a Little" - written by psychologist Hedy Lamarr (as J.O. Loring).

When Cummings meets the lovely Ms. Lamarr, he decides women might be worth the emotional difficulties, after all. Lamarr, on the other hand, believes Cummings is a nervous mental patient, rather than a book promoter. They are attracted to each other, but romantic rivals Sten and Robert Shayne (as Richard Field) aren't going to give up easily. Cummings, who co-produced with his new company, handles surreal comedy very well. His dueling leading ladies are good, vaguely recalling Greta Garbo's last two comic roles. The intermittently clever - "Shave as You Go!" - script benefits from director Richard Wallace's work with his stars.

****** Let's Live a Little (12/9/48) Richard Wallace ~ Robert Cummings, Hedy Lamarr, Anna Sten, Robert Shayne
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hedy can't save this movie
cheeseplease4 July 2006
Even after three viewings, I still think this movie is terrible. Its a comedy, but I haven't laughed yet. Robert Cummings is miscast, and I keep wanting to slap this character as I wonder why in the world the casting director chose him (wouldn't Jimmy Stewart be much better?). Hedy as a psychiatrist is intriguing as a concept, but this script falls very short. As a consequence, she looks mostly flat, absurd and misplaced. Unlike a number of her other films, her beauty can't save this movie. Nevermind the fact that Hollywood was slack with boundaries in its portrayal of psychiatrists.

I hope future viewers find enjoyable qualities in this movie.
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"We both Rather forget This"
korevette30 January 2014
I recall listening to Cummings on the radio late evening show in the '60's as he was standing in for Jack Paar. His guest's were Vincent Price, Patricia Morrison ( Kiss Me Kate Broadway fame ) and Hedy Lamarr. The conversation went something like this as their movie came up..."We both rather forget this " and so will I. They laughed it off. HEDY said at the time that she was in the mood for a comedy and though Cummings could play dramatic roles, he also was good in comedies. Unfortunately this role was laboriously done. She also was fond of appearing with a fellow European, Anna Sten, who at one time was being considered as the next Garbo by Samuel GOLDWYN, head of United Artist studios.
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The Worst Hedy Lamarr Film I've Ever Seen
howardmorley18 January 2009
Whatever possessed HL to appear in this ridiculous film which panders to the worst excesses of male chauvinism prevalent in Hollywood in 1948.I fully endorse "cheeseplease's" comments.We all know HL was intelligent (co-designer of an electronic torpedo guidance system patented with a male colleague) as well as being very beautiful and I had hopes in this film she would espouse tracts of Freud/Junge and show us her innate well bred poise and intelligence.What we got, or rather what she was "saddled" with, was some airhead of a Hollywood scriptwriter & producer giving us the most facile, unfunny, badly constructed so-called "comedy" screenplay I have seen in a long while.

I too found nothing to laugh at in this contrived one dimensional film.I presume that by 1948 in this "B" feature, Hedy was getting rather desperate for good scripts or needed the money.The same goes for Robert Cummings.(How mush better he was in Hitchcock's "Saboteur" (1945) with Priscilla Lane or even his "Dial M For Murder (1953)with Grace Kelly.The subject film never touched on psychiatry presumably because the screen writer and producer knew nothing about it and patronisingly considered it an unfunny subject for American audiences in 1948.That just exposes their ignorance when films like Hitchcock's "Spellbound" (1945) had been filmed.Silly irritating sequences of both leads imagining each other's faces superimposed on other peoples bodies really annoyed me.How could two rational people who had reached an elevated position in their respective careers appear so foolish?Pulling silly faces or reacting in a crass way in these sequences is certainly not funny to an intelligent audience.

Why then did I purchase this DVD?Well I had hopes of seeing another good performance by HL like she played in "Come Live With Me"(1941) a witty and literate film opposite Jimmy Stewart.I rate the latter as her best film ever as her own character has verisimilitude as an Austrian refugee - albeit a very beautiful one.At least it is another rare HL film in my collection of her.Verdict - 3/10 could do better.
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Love That Bob
bkoganbing8 October 2014
Two of Hollywood's most beautiful women get to pursue Robert Cummings in Let's Live A Little. Cummings who plays a harried advertising man is involved with one client already and it would dearly like to get out of it. Cosmetics queen Anna Sten is still in love with Cummings, but he made the big mistake getting involved with her as she is rather possessive.

Wouldn't you know it he gets involved with another women. Psychiatrist Hedy Lamarr has written one of those Dr. Phil type books and Cummings is assigned to publicize the book and her. Before long he's both in love and in need of Lamarr's professional services.

That is one thing I don't get. How could that woman practice that profession with drooling men lying on the coach confessing all their issues. She would be a distraction no doubt.

And here's Cummings caught between the two of them. Got to Love That Bob.

Robert Shayne is on hand as a surgeon in the same medical group as Lamarr. I guess they had those back in the day as well. His part is similar to one he did the before in Welcome Stranger.

Let's Live A Little is kind of cute more than funny. The players have to work hard and get very little in return due to a deficient script.
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"Disappointing" is most definitely the word!
JohnHowardReid14 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
It's very disappointing to find super-lovely Hedy Lamarr so atrociously miscast in this tired and tiresome farce produced by her garrulously witless co-star, Robert Cummings (in association with Eugene Frenke) and released through J. Arthur Rank's Eagle-Lion Pictures. Director Richard Wallace found himself in an unenviable position. Not only was he forced to march to Cummings' beat, but the actor would not take direction. His gaudily over-acted performance makes the trite script seem even more witless and heavy-handed. Even splendid efforts by Hedy Lamarr and Anna Sten cannot compensate for witless writing and turgid direction. Admittedly, the movie is well produced and boasts a fine line-up of some of our favorite character actors including Byron Foulger, Paul Maxey, Frank Sully, Robert Shayne, Mary Treen, John Dehner, Billy Bevan, Hal K. Dawson, Oliver Blake...
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Horrible Script Hampers Stellar Cast
Man992044 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This movie features some amazing Actors. All three of the principle Actors are about ten to fifteen years past their "glory days".They are mired in a terrible plot that no amount of technical skills, or personal charisma can overcome.

This is basically a second rate B movie with an A level cast.

Hedy Lamarr plays a female Doctor. In order for a woman to become a Doctor in the 1940s, she had to be far more that just intelligent. She had to have an incredible focus and a commitment to her career. The horribly patronizing script expects us to believe that Larmarr's character would be willing to throw it all away because a moment with Robert Cummings could turn her into a quivering pile of jelly.

Robert Cumming's character is written as one of the strangest "Leading Man" types I have ever seen in any classic movie. He is fussy, prissy, highly emotional, and totally lacking in testosterone. The script calls for Cummings to act like a "confirmed bachelor" type of character. He is asked to pull off the type of performance Franklin Pangborn did so much more successfully.

Worst of all is how the script treats Anna Sten. This is one of the last movies Sten ever made. Sten was one of the most beautiful women to ever appear in a Classic Movie. The lighting and camera angles are deliberately unsympathetic to an older woman.

Despite what you might read, this is not a comedy. There is a lot of fussing and a lot of busy work, but don't confuse this with humor.
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A terrible film...among the worst either actor made.
MartinHafer28 May 2017
Let's just cut to the chase here..."Let's Live a Little" is a terrible film with little to recommend it. The writing is particularly bad and it's about the worst film either Hedy Lamarr or Bob Cummings appeared in during their careers.

When the film begins, Duke Crawford (Cummings) is an extremely harried advertising man. He works all the time and is so busy, he's begun sounding like he's coming unhinged. And, when his latest client is a psychiatrist, she (Lamarr) is also worried he's losing his mind. He thinks they are dating...she thinks he's her latest patient..and the hilarity ensues...or should have.

The humor is very forced and very unfunny. Both actors (particularly Cummings) try very hard to make bad material work...but the film just comes off as stupid and 4th rate...at best.
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Sten Gun
writers_reign22 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Sam Goldwyn brought Anna Sten to the United States in 1934 and in between that year and 1956 she appeared in thirteen feature films and some four or five TV shows most of which were pretty ho hum. The problem was that Goldwy's eyes were greedier than his brain, he based his assessment of her strictly on her looks, which were striking, without wondering about her command of English which was, had anyone thought to tell him, non-existent. Of the thirteen feature films only one, So Ends Our Night, was memorable and that was due to the rest of the cast rather than Sten, leaving a round dozen rather like this one, which, somewhat ironically stars another mittel European, Hedy Lamarr, who enjoyed somewhat longer in the front ranks before falling, like Sten, by the wayside. Here she plays a specialist in nervous disorders who has just published a book on the subject. Robert Cummings is a high flyer ad the Advertising Agency hired to promote the book. Cummings is being hotly pursued by Sten, an existing client of the Agency with eyes to wed Cummings. Given this you can perm any two out of three progressions and outcomes and it's no better or worse than any of the dozens of movies sharing the same plot.
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