COME AND GET IT (directors: Howard Hawks/William Wyler; screenwriters: from a novel by Edna Ferber/Jules Furthman/Jane Murfin; cinematographer: Rudolph Mate/Gregg Toland; editor: Edward Curtiss; music: Alfred Newman; cast: Edward Arnold (Bernard ‘Barney’ Glasgow), Joel McCrea (Richard Glasgow), Frances Farmer (Lotta Morgan/Lotta Bostrom), Walter Brennan (Swan Bostrom), Mady Christians (Karie, Swan’s niece), Mary Nash (Emma Louise Glasgow nee Hewitt), Charles Halton (Mr. Hewitt), Andrea Leeds (Evvie Glasgow), Frank Shields (Tony Schwerke); Runtime: 99; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Samuel Goldwyn; United Artists; 1936)
“Botched melodrama that’s based on the novel by Edna Ferber.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Howard Hawks (“Rio Bravo”/”Sergeant York”/”Scarface”) directs this botched melodrama that’s based on the novel by Edna Ferber and written by Jules Furthman and Jane Murfin. It’s one of the director’s lesser works, mainly because of interference from producer Samuel Goldwyn. The last ten minutes were supposedly directed by William Wyler, while some claim Wyler directed the film’s last half and others claim he reshot the entire film. Also, Richard Rosson directed the film’s logging sequences. In any case, the film’s first half is better than its second half.
The film basically tells the colorful history of the Wisconsin lumber industry through the eyes of Barney Glasgow (Edward Arnold) from 1884 to fifty years later. Barney Glasgow is a rough and tumble manager of a northern Wisconsin logging camp who is not afraid to punch out his workers to get them to obey and acts the part of the big sport by treating the men to free liquor after the timber has been brought to the mill. With his commission, the ambitious lumber man now goes home to marry the plain looking Emma Louise Hewitt (Mary Nash), the boss’s daughter, though he’s in love with hot dance hall girl Lotta Morgan (Frances Farmer), who marries his kindly best pal Swan Bostrom (Walter Brennan) on the rebound. Marrying to get ahead in the world rather than for love, Barney becomes Hewitt’s (Charles Halton) partner and rises to be a society leader in Milwaukee and soon becomes a prominent lumber tycoon.
Barney dotes on his feisty daughter Evvie (Andrea Leeds), who convinces him to visit his former pal Swan after not seeing him for over twenty years. Swan’s wife has died some time ago but he has a lovely daughter, Lotta Bostrom (Frances Farmer plays both mother and daughter), whom he becomes smitten with (she’s the spitting image of her mother) and invites the family back to his hometown. He showers them with gifts, pays for Lotta’s education and offers Swan a meaningless job. Meanwhile Barney’s son Richard (Joel McCrea) also falls in love with Bostrom’s beautiful daughter and she with him, and is dismayed to find out Barney’s affections for her weren’t fatherly. The Hoover-like Republican father and his more liberal son go into an Oedipal conflict; the son also objects to his father’s irresponsible business practice of clear cutting the forest and not replacing the trees by replanting them.
It earned the lovable character actor Walter Brennan the first of his three Supporting Actor Oscars; it was the first year the Academy presented the award. The performances are generally good, especially the virile one from Arnold and the heart-warming one from Farmer in a dual role.REVIEWED ON 2/7/2007 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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