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Saturday, April 19, 2014


René Clair, in WWII Hollywood exile, gave this comic-fantastic romance a crisp, flippant tone, skipping past the on-going misunderstandings that can make farce a pain. If only more in here were as witty as its omnibus prologue where a series of blackout sketches show a witch’s curse traveling thru generations; or later, when a divine montage features a chanting chorus of maternity ward infants. Fredric March & Veronica Lake make an odd pair as would-be Governor & revenge seeking witch, but their obvious mismatch adds a bit of texture to a plot that’s all but given away in the title. Susan Hayward, very young, very pretty, actually gives the best perf as March’s constantly jilted would-be bride. But the main performer is director Clair who gets a lot out of the simplest special effects while zipping thru the plot in a tidy 77 minutes. It hardly gives us time to note the film’s alarmingly callous view of mortality.

DOUBLE-BILL: World Wars do bring out a taste for morbidly supernatural comedies, see the only partially successful Nöel Coward/David Lean BLITHE SPIRIT/’45.

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