Leonard Borland loves his monied wife, but with his wrecking business looking shaky he treasures her all the more. So when she decides to try again to become an opera singer he indulges her...
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Leonard Borland loves his monied wife, but with his wrecking business looking shaky he treasures her all the more. So when she decides to try again to become an opera singer he indulges her. While organising a concert for her he meets glamorous Cecil Carver. She in turn discovers Leonard has a splendid voice, and encourages him to use it for reasons very much her own.Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hilariously Unexpected; Mitchell, Darnell, Holm and Douglas are Great
Most viewers who discover this totally-unexpected satirical 'send-up" of opera, social snobbery and several other human pursuits simply find it hilarious. I love it because of the inexorable logic of its line-of-development--and because its humor is so infectious. This is adult humor, not compulsive misbehaviors being committed by parodies of human character (as in too-many TV "sitcoms" and badly-scripted comedies); here everyone tries his/her best and does pretty well considering that the scheme of things" is against them all. Doris Borland, played charmingly by Celeste Holm,, is married to nice-guy wrecker Paul Douglas, who has a partner, Millard Mitchell. Her parents, Charles Coburn and especially Lucile Watson, encourage her singing aspirations; Dougals as Leonard Borland isn't interested. The final shove to the family's already-tilting applecart--her side is wealthy, he just runs a business--occurs when Douglas discovers that he has a magnificent operatic singing voice. Encouraged by gorgeous Linda Darnell, a singer herself, and coached for stardom, Douglas reveals his talent to his astounded in-laws and his furious wife; then he goes onstage for his debut--only to be undone by unforeseeable bad luck. The entire script's development, from a James M. Cain story via Nunnally Johnson and director Edmund Goulding, derives every bit of humor possible from what is fundamentally a two-line joke about upper-class snobbery and lower-class down-to-earth realism. Kay Nelson's costumes are unusually fine; the competent music is by Afred Newman. But this is an actors' film. Douglas and Mitchell are wonderful together and separately; Darnell is lovely and right for a difficult part; Holm nearly steals the film by her ladylike reactions to goings on; Coburn and Watson add to the proceedings, as always. Others in the cast are John Hoyt as a music professor, fine actor George Tobias and Leon Belasco. The climactic scene of the film, Leonard Borland's operatic debut, is probably worth the price of admission alone. But the ending, which I won't reveal, is arguably the perfect commentary on the entire experience everyone has suffered. I recommend this humorous surprise of a film to everyone I know who isn't deceased--for the laughs.
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