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Thursday, June 15, 2017


Made in 1938, but feeling five years behind the times; a lag that shouldn’t much matter after eight decades. Yet it makes all the diff in this modest romantic comedy since those involved know they’re handling stale goods and, under William Seiter’s routine megging, make a hard sell out of what ought to be light fun. The story is one more variation on the 'Three Girls Looking for Love' storyline, here with Loretta Young & two sisters leaving their Kansas chicken farm to find a millionaire in California. Parked at a swank resort, Loretta goes all La-Di-Da while her siblings act as her social staff. Sure enough, rich types Joel McCrea & David Niven come a’courting . . . but only one is really a millionaire. Young’s comic touch is harsh & overly bright, as if she were bribing us to chuckle, but if you hold on till the third act, the film detours into Screwball territory with a wild perf from Binnie Barnes as Niven’s hedonist sis. She’s not really as funny as she thinks, but her character, a beer guzzling lush in furs & couture, with a taste for hunky men, is so peculiar, you can’t take your eyes off her. Then the script pairs everyone up for a happy ending except her. How graceless.

DOUBLE-BILL: Joel McCrea's next attempt at this sort of thing came charmed with greatness (even wisdom), Preston Sturges’s THE PALM BEACH STORY/’42 with Claudette Colbert & Mary Astor effortlessly giving Young & Barnes a demonstration on how to play brittle sophisticated comedy.

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