As an ex-pat Cockney gambling ‘promoter’ Damon Runyon might have recognized in this wartime dramedy, Cary Grant runs a double scam: dodging the draft with a dead man’s I.D.; and seducing a society dame to fleece the gambling den at her charity ball. Two things get in the way: the dead guy turns out to be overdue on a jail term; and then Cary goes all patriotic with the society loot, turning good-guy against his wiseguy pals. It’s a neat set-up, with imaginative megging from H. C. Potter and ultra-swank lensing from George Barnes. What keeps the film from having a higher profile is its leading lady, Laraine Day. She’s pleasant enough, shiny & wholesome, but, without a trace of glamour or mystery, no match for Cary. Worse, she knows it and overcompensates by trying too hard. It makes some of the already alarming tie/castration gags even more uncomfortable. (As Grant’s comic sidekick, Alan Carney is equally weak.) A pity since the film has a lot going for it, especially when Grant, almost impossibly attractive here, demonstrates a bit of beginner’s Cockney rhyming slang. (Real Cockney slang is much harder to figure out since they drop the rhyming word.)
DOUBLE-BILL: Grant must have enjoyed working with Potter since they reteamed on the smoothly funny MR. BLANDINGS BUILD HIS DREAM HOUSE/’48 with Myrna Loy a fine match as Mrs. Blandings.
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: The catchy but uncredited tune Grant’s always whistling is the Dietz/Schwartz classic ‘Something to Remember You By,’ familiar to fans of THE BAND WAGON/’53 as a background chorale at that film's classic post-debacle party.