In Hands Across the Table Carole Lombard plays manicurist Regi who’s sworn off love and plans to marry for money. A wealthy customer, Allen Macklyn, who’s confined to a wheelchair, gets Regi to open up. He soon falls for her; he sees the light and strength under the rough exterior. They soon become friends, though Allen hopes for more.
Into Regi’s life hops scion Theodore Drew III who’s playing hopscotch in the hotel where Regi works. Theodore’s smitten when he meets her, but Regi thinks he’s a nincompoop. She saw him playing hopscotch by himself in the hotel hallway. Theodore goes to the barbershop for a manicure so that he can ask Regi out to dinner. She’s uninterested until she realizes he’s wealthy. Then she becomes so nervous that she cuts or jabs each of his fingers. They do go out and Theodore wines and dines Regi, who’s soon charmed. It isn’t till the wee hours when Theodore’s taking her home that he mentions that he’s getting married. She’s stunned and heartbroken.
Nonetheless Theodore doesn’t see why Regi’s upset. Can’t things continue in spite of the wedding? After all he’s only marrying for money. It turns out his family’s lost its fortune and as Theodore has no ability to work and earn it, he must marry. Circumstances, flimsy ones, keep Theodore with Regi, who continues to fall for this cad. Meanwhile, Allen decides to propose to Regi. This sterling fellow would surely make Regi a wonderful husband if she can accept his disability.
Hands Across the Table was full of surprises. It was bold to show Theodore as a scoundrel from the start. Lombard was witty, beautiful and down-to-earth. Few actresses today can be both elegant and “of the people” as she was. Fred McMurray played Theodore, who was convincing as the fun guy with the mind of a child, a real Peter Pan. His character had one fact so I don’t fault him for not adding sophistication to this playboy.
While I hoped for a different ending, the film was fun and plot fairly original. It’s a good choice when you’re looking for light entertainment.
If you’re looking for pure fun and romance, check out Vivacious Lady (1937) starring Ginger Rogers and James Stewart. Straight-laced professor Peter is sent by his father, the president of a small town college, to retrieve his cousin from the big, frivolous city of New York. He finds cousin Keith at a a night club and begins to scold him for his
Keith ducks and dives around Peter’s sermonizing and asks for some more time to see the woman of his dreams perform her number. Peter agrees and falls head over heals for Francey, a vivacious blonde.
Before you know it, Francey and Peter get married. Keith wasn’t even able to stop the proceedings. Peter’s father calls and asks Peter to hurry back with Keith. Thus the strangest honeymoon begins. Peter brings Francey back to Old Sharon to introduce his new bride to his stodgy father and lovely mother.
As with any screwball comedy, every thing that can go wrong does. Peter’s dad assumes Francey is a floosie Keith’s picked up and he charges Peter to put an end of this. Too nervous to set his father straight, Peter winds up just stuttering and promising to do his father’s bidding. Meanwhile the minute Peter’s former fiancée sets eyes on Francey, she’s out to get her.
Mishaps, cat fights and misunderstandings ensue and it’s all in good fun. Made in 1937, the film still delights, but if you judge it my today’s mores, you won’t be entertained. I loved the energy and innocence. Roger’s Francey is feisty and wise not letting misunderstandings fester or ferment. The film includes lovely scenes not only between the newlyweds but also between Francey and his new mother-in-law.
As Doris Day just passed away at the age of 97, I figured watching some of her films would be a good memorial. My library displayed their DVDs with Day and I chose Lucky Day at random.
In Lucky Me, Day plays Candy Williams an aspiring singer and dancer who’s very superstitious and won’t walk by a black cat or step on a crack. Any superstition you’ve heard of in America, she won’t test. Williams is part of a struggling troupe of performers led by Phil Silvers, who’s perfect for his part. Candy gets duped by a well-meaning composer and romantic comedy ensues.
Though Lucky Me isn’t Day’s finest film and there are no great classic songs I recognized, the film entertains. It’s a cheerful story which showcases Day’s optimistic style. It’s sure to make you smile. The supporting cast includes Nancy Walker, who I remember from the sitcom Rhoda. Walker’s dancing skill was a nice surprise and Silver was a wonderful father figure in this tale of old showbiz.
“We’re in the Money” is just one of the memorable tunes in Gold Diggers of 1933 is a romantic comedy about some dancers whose show gets nixed because the producer couldn’t pay his bills. Next they’re seen shivering in their beds unwilling to get up as it’s easier to starve in bed.
Soon the producer comes to their apartment and hears their talented piano playing neighbor. He convinces Brad, the piano player to write some songs for his new show which will be a smash, if he can just get the funds. Brad, who’s sweet on one of the dancers, turns out to be a rich boy and he finances the show. When the male lead falls sick, Brad must go on and his true identity is revealed, which leads to family interference in his love life. In response to his brother’s meddling the other dancers pretend to be money grubbers to teach him a lesson.
It’s a light-hearted romp, that entertains, unless you judge past eras for their gender stereotypes. The most surprising part of the film was the closing number, “Remember My Forgotten Man” a tribute to the men who served in WWI and whose lives were ruined as a result.
Starring Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth, You Were Never Lovelier is good light entertainment. Astaire plays Robert, a New York dancer who’s gone to Buenos Aires and wants to work at a a night club that’s owned by a man who’s got four daughters. The first daughter is married and soon never seen again. The second daughter is in no hurry to marry but her two younger daughters have secret fiancés lined up. However, the father just finds Astaire to be
Dear old dad decides that he’ll write mysterious love letters to Maria, daughter #2. He has no idea how this game will end or actually give her daughter long time happiness. Maria does get swept off her feet by the romantic letters and mistakenly assumes Robert has been writing the letters. A typical 1940s plot unfolds. Rita shines and Astaire is Astaire. They both dance wonderfully and the costumes are dazzling. Yes, the story is far fetched and the jokes rather corny, but the film is fun.
The song’s lyrics aren’t the best. Some rhymes are forced, but I was entertained.
Astaire once said that his favorite dance partner was Rita Hayworth. He said that if she was taught a complicated dance in the morning, she’d have it down by lunch.
Taking a break from drama on the level of Human Condition, I watched Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in The Awful Truth. The Awful Truth is a 1930s romantic comedy about a married couple that races into divorce court after a misunderstanding. Each side has gotten the “wrong end of the stick.”
While they have 90 days between the court date and the divorce finalizing, Lucy, the wife, meets an Oklahoma tycoon who woos her, making Jerry, her soon-to-be ex-husband painfully jealous. Jerry no sooner gives up than Lucy realizes she wants him back.
In a nutshell: Lots of slapstick, lots of wit, lots of style and lots of fun.
The “old” movie I watched this week as part of my 2014 New Year’s resolution was I Was a Male War Bride starring Cary Grant and Ann Sheridan. Grant plays Henri, a French army officer, who must go on a mission with Catherine, an American officer. In true 1940s romantic comedy fashion, neither wants to go with the other and as they travel to find a German lens maker in a small town, they bicker continually, yet wittily, while encountering one mishap after another. In time they admit that their conflict is simply pent up sexual chemistry with a healthy dash of love, they decide to marry.
In occupied Germany after WWII, the newly married couple face a series of wacky bureaucratic problems when they set off for America on army transport. Theirs was a horrible and comical wedding night and honeymoon.
The film was rather dated and contrived. The actors did what could be done with the stilted story and I guess they were assigned by the studio to do this so so movie in a pre-TV era when new content had to be cranked out.
Directed by Frank Capra, Here Comes the Groom stars Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman in an entertaining romantic comedy. Bing plays a reporter who’s working in France after WWII since he’s gotten waylaid at an orphanage helping them to get orphans adopted. He’s left a long time fiancée in the US and she’s tired of waiting and waiting for him.
With his fiancée giving him an ultimatum and his editor calling him back to the US, Pete (Crosby) navigates the red tape and returns with two French orphans planning to marry Emmadel. Unfortunately, the fiancée Emmadel is engaged, to a multi-millionaire no less. Pete must act fast to change her mind and find a mother for these kids.
Lots of singing, dancing and comedy ensues. It’s not sophisticated and I wasn’t rolling on the floor, but there was enough originality and wit to keep me entertained.
With my current job, I have been working 14 and 16 hour days and had no energy for movies. I did see the DVD for Marry Me a Lifetime production written by Barbara Hall, who createdJudging Amy and Joan of Arcadia. Since I like her work and this seemed like some light entertainment, I got it.
Well, it took me like two months to watch this 2 part (4 hour with commercials) romantic comedy.
Marry Me stars Lisa Liu as a social worker who’s boyfriend doesn’t propose as she hoped. Instead he announces his big news is that he’s off into the wild to photograph frogs in the wild. So she finds herself rebooting and re-evaluating her love life. Before you know it, this smart social worker who always wanted to be an artist is dating again and soon has three attractive men pursuing her.
I can hear you saying, “Yeah, right.” I get it and agree. Marry Me is definitely far fetched and somewhat predictable. The lessons in love aren’t new and some of the romantic lessons are just too obvious. For example, at one point Liu is traveling around Europe with her new beau’s best friend who literally owns a castle. She’s literally walking the path of a princess. Of course, she learns that a normal life is more her style.
So Marry Me is sweet, rather too sweet. It includes some good lines, and diverts, but doesn’t quite fill the bill as entertainment. It’s just a bit too predictable and too cute.