OUR MISS BROOKS
(director/writer: Al Lewis; screenwriter: Joseph Quillan/idea by Robert Mann; cinematographer: Joe LaShelle; editors: Fred Y. Smith/Clarence Kolster; music: Roy Webb; cast: Eve Arden (Miss Connie Brooks), Gale Gordon (Osgood Conklin, Principal), Gloria MacMillan (Harriet Conklin), Robert Rockwell (Phil Boynton), Marjorie Bennett (Mrs. Boynton), Don Porter (Lawrence Nolan), Richard Crenna (Walter Denton), Leonard Smith (Fabian “Stretch” Snodgrass), Jane Morgan (Mrs. Margaret Davis), Nick Adams (Gary Nolan), Joe Kearns (Mr. Stone); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: David Weisbart; Warner Bros.; 1956-B/W)
“It’s all about as much fun as I remember from any of my H.S. English classes.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Al Lewis was the chief writer on the popular “Our Miss Brooks” radio series (it started in 1949) and early TV sitcom series (from 1952-1956). Lewis holds a doctorate in child psychology from Columbia University, has penned two children’s books, produced a kid-oriented home video and has acted in many popular films since. But he’s never again directed a feature film, which should not be a mystery after seeing this so-so comedy. Lewis co-writes it with another TV sitcom writer, Joseph Quillan, who base their screenplay on an idea from Robert Mann. Both writers leave it looking flat, like those typical TV sitcom comedies from the 1950s.
Miss Constance Brooks (Eve Arden) is the new English teacher at the unnamed small town Madison High School. She rents a room in the house of the kind-hearted but goofy elderly Mrs. Margaret Davis (Jane Morgan). On campus, Connie develops a crush on the shy, mamma’s boy, athletic, science teacher, Phil Boynton (Robert Rockwell), who she spots working out shirtless with barbells on the front lawn. The overbearing military-minded principal, Osgood Conklin (Gale Gordon), makes his presence felt when he warns Miss Brooks against “fraternizing”with other staff members, as she converses with Boynton on the school grounds.
Time just slides by. When Connie can’t reach the bright and wealthy but failing student Gary Nolan (Nick Adams), she contacts his irritable widowed newspaper owner father Larry (Don Porter). He calls her out as incompetent and she fires back that he’s “a stuffed shirt.” It results in Connie becoming the kid’s home tutor, and dad changing his mind about her when she gets results with the lazy kid.
One day Boynton tells Mrs. Davis that he is saving money and hopes for a promotion so that he can marry Connie. Although she promises to not reveal his plans, Mrs. Davis gets around her promise by reading Connie’s fortune in the cards and predicting a marriage proposal being postponed until there is economic security. The plot builds on how Connie manages to snag her man, as she gets Conklin to run for District Superintendent and he promises to promote Boynton to principal.
Richard Crenna plays the jalopy driving student Walter Denton, who is dating the principal’s daughter Harriet (Gloria MacMillan).
It’s all about as much fun as I remember from any of my H.S. English classes.
REVIEWED ON 5/4/2020 GRADE: C+