(director: Lloyd Bacon; screenwriters: from a story by Fanya Foss & Aleen Leslie/Edward Kaufman; cinematographer: Tony Gaudio; editor: Owen Marks; music: H. Roemheld; cast: Dennis Morgan (Rick Marberry), Merle Oberon (Sue Marberry), Rita Hayworth (Irene Malcom), Ralph Bellamy (Owen Wright), James Gleason (Chester Phillips), George Tobias (Pasha), Jerome Cowan (Cullen), ButterflyMcQueen (Butterfly), Hattie McDaniel (Cynthia), Renie Riano (Mrs. Snell), Carmen Morales (Anita); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Mark Hellinger; Warner Brothers/Seven Arts; 1941-in B/W)
“A charming romantic comedy, whose charm eluded me.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A charming romantic comedy, whose charm eluded me.
Veteran studio director Lloyd Bacon (“42nd Street “/”The French Line”) makes his star into a globe-trotting reporter and womanizer to be admired for all the politically incorrect reasons. It’s written by Edward Kaufman as a farce, who adapts it from the story by Fanya Foss & Aleen Leslie.
Merle Oberon is Sue, the attractive but ditsy wealthy woman married for the last 4 years to the hotshot international reporter on the New York Record, Rick Marberry (Dennis Morgan).
While in Lisbon, carrying on with his colleague Irene (Rita Hayworth), Rick receives a telegram from his maid (Hattie McDaniel) that his wife has divorced him and plans to marry the nebbish businessman Owen Wright (Ralph Bellamy). Instead of going on his next assignment to Moscow, slick Rick returns to Manhattan to win back Sue. He brings along a nebbish photographer Pasha (George Tobias) from Lisbon, who blindly helps him win his wife back. Rick’s return to NYC irks his excitable editor boss, Chester Phillips (James Gleason), who wants his star reporter doing his job abroad.
Heavy-handed comedy is mined from Rick flirting with every woman he sees and being a phony in everything but his love for his upper crust wife. Oberon is the fickle woman, who changes her mind about who she loves every few seconds. Rita’s Irene is a stunning beauty with a good sense of humor, who steals every scene she’s in by just smiling. Gleason is his usual typecast self as the good-hearted blustery boss who gets all tangled up when things don’t go his way. While Tobias is the comic relief sidekick. The lovable rogue is well–played by the playful Dennis Morgan.
It’s a dated film, whose comedy is not as sharp as it should be with such a top-notch cast. But it’s energetic and has a snappy dialogue, and even if its love triangle snafu doesn’t amount to much entertainment it at least has some kind of a slight plot to fall back on when the entire film is built around the dumb ploy of Rick still chasing the skirts while not willing to lose his wife.
REVIEWED ON 2/15/2021 GRADE: C+