Pencils all sharpened with nowhere to go...
Dream Lover, part one

2011 Monthly Classic Film Fest: The Doctor Takes a Wife

One of my 8 "movies I've never watched" for January, mentioned two posts ago. It was on TCM a few days ago, and I watched it today. It was okay. I'd give it a 7, but then, I give most things a 7. 

Here's the basic setup: Spinsters Aren't Spinach is a book by June Cameron, played by Loretta Young, who writes that it's more fun to be single than to be chained to a man's kitchen. It's a bestseller, and the publisher looks forward to a sequel. At the beginning of the movie, a misunderstanding occurs between her and another guest at the lodge where she's staying, and she cops a ride to New York with him. He's Dr. Tim Sterling, a "neuropsychiatry" teacher played by Ray Milland, who dismisses her views on the New Woman.

When they stop in Hartford so she can send a telegram, a Just Married sign is mistakenly put on the back of their car, it is seen by the woman running the telegraph office, and from there, hijinks ensue, because, of course, it will appear she's no longer a champion for the spinster if she's given in to the wedded state, and who better to spread gossip than the woman controlling the wire? Meanwhile, the two of them continue to rub each other the wrong way, and have no idea others think they are married. In fact, he's actually engaged to someone else. Of course.

And so forth.

I liked it. It doesn't really bear looking at a 1940 comedy and noting there is no reason for absolutely any of it to have actually occurred. Are the right people likeable and the right people not likeable? Yes, though it's not easy to say why. Did the correct resolution occur? Of course, though, as is typical, it depended on two complete absurdities that were entirely unnecessary. But that's how these movies are. We watch the actors do things we can't or wouldn't or shouldn't do, and then live happily ever after 90 minutes or so later.

Loretta Young knew how to be winning and yet soft; much better at it, I think, than Rosalind Russell. Ray Milland was strong, but could still act silly or woo a woman with his eyes at just the right moment. He was a little bit Eddie Albert and a little bit Cary Grant, til he lost his hair. Frankly, I think he could have worked harder to sound American, but Cary Grant never had to, so why complain?

It was pleasant; a weekend movie sort of movie. 

Next up, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit.

Comments