BLIND DATE (HER SACRIFICE) (director: Roy William Neill; screenwriters: Ethel Hill/Arthur Jarvis Black/Adele Buffington/story by Vida Hurst; cinematographer: Al Seigler; editor: Gene Havlick; cast: Ann Sothern (Kitty Taylor), Neil Hamilton (Bob Hartwell), Paul Kelly (Bill Lowry), Jane Darwell (Ma Taylor), Spencer Charters (Pa ‘Charlie’ Taylor), Joan Gale (Flora Taylor), Mickey Rooney (Freddie Taylor), Geneva Mitchell (Dot), Henry Kolker (J.W. Hartwell, Sr.), Tyler Brooke (Emory), Ben Hendricks, Jr. (Burt Stearns – Kitty’s Marathon Partner), Mary Forbes (Mrs. Hartwell), Billie Seward (Barbara Hartwell), Harry Bowen (Milkman); Runtime: 71; MPAA Rating: NR; Columbia Pictures; 1934)
“A classic Depression-era domestic romantic/comedy capably directed by Roy William Neill.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A classic Depression-era domestic romantic/comedy capably directed by Roy William Neill(“The Black Room”/”The Pearl of Death”/”Terror by Night”), and with a winsome performance by the delightful youngish Ann Sothern. Writers Ethel Hill, Arthur Jarvis Black and Adele Buffington adapt it from a story by Vida Hurst.
The attractive young adult Kitty Taylor (Ann Sothern) lives in a NYC brownstone with her working-class family, which consists of deadbeat unemployed father (Spencer Charters) and her overbearing but supportive mom (Jane Darwell), her snoopy 18-year-old younger sister Flora (Joan Gale) and her 14-year-old bratty brother Freddie (Mickey Rooney). The family is supported by the hard working switchboard operator Kitty. She’s engaged to nice guy Bill Lowry (Paul Kelly), an ambitious car mechanic who starts a towing business. Bill stands up Kitty a number of times to take towing jobs. When he stands her up on her birthday, she gets angry and agrees to go with her friends on a blind date. The blind date, Bob Hartwell (Neil Hamilton), is the handsome, cultured and wealthy son of the Hartwell department store owner, who woos her with expensive gifts, a better job as a model in his store and by showing her a better life by going on expensive dates in his chauffeur-driven car. When playboy charmer Bob proposes a trip to Europe without marriage and tells her he’s not the marrying kind, she rejects his indecent proposal. Bob is hurt and instead takes a business-related cruise to Europe with mom (Mary Forbes), while his father (Henry Kolker) secretly fires Kitty. Unable to get another job, Bill saves her family by employing her useless father. When her dad, because of his clumsiness, causes a car Bill was working under to fall on him and he’s hospitalized, she feels sorry for him and appreciates how much he helped her family and accepts his marriage proposal even though she realizes she loves Bob and not him. Mom, who favors sticking to her own kind, counsels her daughter that she will learn to love him.
It’s resolved in a pat manner by contrived means, in a stiff story that many others have used before and after. Nevertheless the pic has its charms, and Mickey Rooney, in a small part, is a hoot acting as a pesty brother and is reason enough to catch the film. In the battle of the classes theme, it seems to favor the upper-class over the lower-class, who are depicted as either working too hard or too little or are too shifty.
REVIEWED ON 3/8/2015 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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