(director: Clarence Brown; screenwriters: Patterson McNutt/from story by Virginia Van Upp; cinematographer: George Folsey; editor: Frank E. Hull; music: Herbert Stothart; cast: James Stewart (Bill Smith), Hedy Lamarr (Johanna Janns, aka Johnny Jones), Ian Hunter (Barton Kendrick), Verree Teasdale (Diana Kendrick), (Grandma), Adeline de Walt Reynolds Donald Meek (Joe Darsie), Barton MacLane (Barney Grogan), Edward Ashley (Arnold Stafford); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Clarence Brown; MGM; 1941)

A well-acted but predictable romantic comedy.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A well-acted but predictable romantic comedy shot in black and white. Clarence Brown (“Angels in the Outfield”/”National Velvet”), “MGM’s most romantic director,” gets good performances from his stars in this smart melodrama. It’s based on the story by Virginia Van Upp and is written by Patterson McNutt. Because of the star power, the film did well at the box-office. Johnny Jones (Hedy Lamarr) is an Austrian refugee who can’t return to her country without facing dire consequences, but her visa expired months ago and can’t be extended. Wealthy married NYC publisher Barton Kendrick (Ian Hunter) is smitten with her and visits the illegal immigrant every night in her hotel room. His sophisticated wife Diane (Verree Teasdale) is aware, and proudly boasts they have a trusting modern-marriage as she goes out at night on a date with Arnold Stafford (Edward Ashley). After the immigration officer (Barton MacLane) tracks Jones down in her hotel, he shows he has a heart by letting her stay a week longer before she is deported and advises her that marrying an American is the only way she can stay. While walking the Manhattan streets is despair, Jones runs into the despondent penniless writer Bill Smith (James Stewart) on a park bench and then helps him out of a jam in a coffee shop. While taking him back to his Greenwich Village apartment she impulsively decides to draw up a contract that has them enter a platonic marriage of convenience, whereby she pays him $17.80 each week. After a few months pass, Smith falls in love with the beautiful Jones. The love sick Bart, who wanted to marry her but was rebuffed because she didn’t want to hurt his wife, still doesn’t know how Jones was granted residency. Bill sends a story, similar to his real-life experience, to Barton’s publishing house and Diane, who makes the book publishing decisions, likes it and gets hubby to publish it. Now that Bill has some money and everyone is aware of the present situation, there’s a pause to see who the glamorous refugee chooses for her real husband. Lke the bard said, “All’s well that ends well.”