BRIDES ARE LIKE THAT (director: William McGann; screenwriters: Ben Markson/ from the play Applesauce by Barry Connors; cinematographer: Sid Hickox; editor: Clarence Kolster; cast: Ross Alexander (Bill McAllister), Anita Louise (Hazel Robinson), Joseph Cawthorn (Fred Schultz), Gene Lockhart (John Robinson), Kathleen Lockhart (Mrs. Ella Robinson), Dick Purcell (Dr. Randolph Jenkins), Kay Hughes (Mary Ann Coleridge), Joseph Crehan (Tom Carter), Mary Treen (Jennie); Runtime: 68; Warner Brothers; 1936)
“A typical Warner Brothers happy-go-lucky comedy of the 1930s.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A typical Warner Brothers happy-go-lucky comedy of the 1930s, taking sides with the underdog hero in his attempt to get enough money to make his marriage work. It’s aimed to draw him over to the audience’s side, and it succeeds as a feel good pic reflective of that era. The film is based on Barry Connors’ hit 1925 stage comedy “Applesauce.”
The promising acting career of Ross Alexander, the film’s star, was cut short by his suicide at the age of 29.
Bill McAllister (Ross Alexander) was supported in college by his wealthy apple grove owner uncle, Fred Schultz (Joseph Cawthorn), who refuses to loan him any more money after college because he’s lazy and refuses to get a job. Uncle Fred when he gets excited, speaks in malapropisms. When his fast-talking smoothie nephew charges an engagement ring to him, that becomes the last straw as he refuses to pay for it.
The attractive and perky Hazel Robinson (Anita Louise) is the apple of Bill’s eye, but before he can give her an engagement ring she becomes engaged to the stable Dr. Randolph Jenkins (Dick Purcell). Her folks are happy that she is marrying someone as practical and serious as Jenkins, figuring that he will be able to support her in style. Her father, John Robinson (Gene Lockhart), an apple seller who married when he was broke and afterwards watched his business prosper, says the ne’er-do-well is full of applesauce and is glad his daughter didn’t choose him. Mrs. Robinson (Kathleen Lockhart) falls for his flattery, but thinks her daughter made a wiser choice in the good doctor.
At a Thanksgiving Day country club dance, where the men are in period costumes as either Indians or Pilgrims, Bill dances with his date, Mary Ann Coleridge (Hughes). This gets Randolph jealous. When Bill cuts in to dance with Hazel, he makes a date to see her at home. But Randolph puts his foot down, as he gives Mary the ultimatum: choose between us.
Mary hides in the room next door when Bill comes to her house and unbeknownst to the rivals listens to their conversation, as she hears Bill bad mouth marriage. She becomes disillusioned with both their views and breaks off her engagement with the doctor because he’s too business-minded about marriage and not romantic enough. Bill steps in and uses his gift of gab to talk her into marrying him right away, even if it’s against her father’s wishes.
Now married and unemployed the bills mount up, yet Bill still remains cocky even as he’s being pressured to pay back his uncle all the debts he’s running up. Mr. Robinson makes his daughter promise that if Bill doesn’t accept the job he got for him through connections, that she should leave him and return home. But Bill has other ideas as he invented a Thermo-Box, where apples could remain fresh when shipped. His golfing buddy at the club, Tom Carter, says he’ll back his invention. This gets Uncle Fred and Mr. Robinson to each give him a stake in their business, as now the three are partners and he’s a financial success. Hazel is proud of him, and even though she didn’t marry him for money and never nagged him–she’s glad that he proved everyone wrong about how lazy he is.
If you want my two cents I think she should have married the Doc, as Bill was beginning to get on my nerves with all the bull and flattery he was throwing around. But I guess Hazel really loved him and that’s what really counts, which plays into giving the audience a positive feeling about their own lives and a hope that there’s a way out of the predicament they might be in.
An easy film to digest, whose breezy style is suitable for the lightweight comedy bandied around.
REVIEWED ON 1/20/2002 GRADE: C +
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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