GILDED LILY, THE
(director:Wesley Ruggles; screenwriters: Claude Binyon/based on a story idea by Jack Kirkland & Melville Baker; cinematographer: Victor Milner; editor: Otho Lovering; music: Sigmund Krumgold/Arthur Johnson/Sam Coslow/Tom Satterfield; cast: Claudette Colbert (Marilyn David), Fred MacMurray (Peter Dawes), Ray Milland (Charles Gray, Lord Granton), C. Aubrey Smith (Lloyd Granton, Duke of Loamshire), Grace Bradley (Daisy), Tom Duggan (The Bum), Luis Alberni (Nate Porcopolis), Donald Meek (Hanherson), Edward Craven (Eddie, Photographer); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Albert Lewis; Paramount/TCM; 1935-B/W)
“The middling but charming screwball love triangle comedy was a decent film for its Depression-era audience.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A lively Depression-era romantic comedy in B/W, directed by Wesley Ruggles (“No Man of her Own”/”I’m No Angel”). Writer Claude Binyon bases it on the story idea by Jack Kirkland & Melville Baker, who are also co-writers.
Marilyn David (Claudette Colbert) is a New York stenographer. She is romantically linked to American reporter/ the newsman Peter Dawes (Fred MacMurray) and to an English idler named Charles Gray (Ray Milland) who happens to be a rich British lord.
The relationship with Peter is only platonic, as he might love her but she just considers him a friend. They meet once a week to sit on a Manhattan park bench and munch on peanuts and popcorn. Marilyn meets Charles, a visitor from England posing as someone without money when he rescues her on the subway from a nasty subway guard. The two fall in love after dating for a short time. But Marilyn is unaware that he’s the nobleman Lord Granton and is engaged, and doesn’t fit her ideal type of mate–a hard working guy with little money. When she sees his photo in the newspaper and learns the truth about her new boyfriend, she tells Peter how much that upsets her. Peter thereby writes an untrue article about how she turned down Charles. The public eats that up and Marilyn takes advantage of her popularity to get a nightclub gig. Even though she has no talent to sing, dance or be a comedian, Marilyn takes singing lessons and becomes famous overnight just being herself doing her act, while the article leaves Charles scandalized and his engagement ended. We then wait to see if her relationship becomes more serious with Peter.
The middling but charming screwball love triangle comedy was a decent film for its Depression-era audience. It holds up well today as a charming screwball comedy that began a string of films MacMurray made with Colbert. The duo had good chemistry together and were popular with audiences. This was Mac’s first major role, while Colbert recently won an Oscar for Best Actress in It Happened One Night.
REVIEWED ON 11/26/2020 GRADE: B