(director: William Seiter; screenwriters: story by John Wells/Sam Mintz/H.W. Hanemann/Glenn Tryon; cinematographer: David Abel; editor: James Morley; music: Max Steiner; cast: Norman Foster (Jack Bacon), Ginger Rogers(Mary Carroll), Robert Benchley (H. Harrington Hubbell), George Sidney (Max Eckbaum), (Rosie Eckbaum), Sidney Miller(Julius Eckbaum), Laura Hope Crews (Elise Peabody Worthington Smythe), Guinn Williams (Fritzie); Runtime: 73; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Alexander McGaig/Merian C. Cooper/Kenneth Macgowan; RKO; 1933-B/W)
“Dated fluff comedy on mistaken identities.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A pre-Code rom-com, that once was believed to be a lost film until found at the Brigham Young University archives for RKO films. William Seiter (“Desert”/”Stowaway”) directs this dated fluff comedy on mistaken identities. A Greenwich Village struggling artist/nightwatchman, Jack Bacon (Norman Foster), and a telephone telemarketer of refrigerators, Mary Carroll (Ginger Rogers), share an attic apartment without knowledge of each other. She uses the attic only between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. Without knowing each other they still dislike each other. But that all changes when they meet, in this predictable comedy. The arrangement was crafted by their sly stereotypical Jewish landlord (George Sidney), when both were far behind in the rent.
Robert Benchley plays Mary’s sleazy boss, who takes an unwelcome romantic interest in her, while Laura Hope Crews crudely plays a rich patroness of the arts who has designs on hooking Jack with her patronage.
The film’s most distasteful gag has the Jewish landlord’s teenage son (Sidney Miller) drawing swastikas on a wall in the building’s hallway by the phone. When his father scolds him, the kid replies it’s for good luck. Though Swastikas were symbols of good luck in many cultures prior to the rise of Nazism, by 1833 the Nazis owned the symbol and for Jews to use it as a source of comedy is repugnant.
Rafter Romance is based on the 1932 book by John Wells, and is inanely written by Sam Mintz, Glenn Tryon and H.W. Hanemann.
It was remade again in 1937 as Living on Love.
REVIEWED ON 7/15/2017 GRADE: C+