Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Norman Krasna
Starring: Carole Lombard, Robert Montgomery, Gene Raymond
Ann (Lombard) and David Smith (Montgomery) have enjoyed three years together before finding out that their marriage was never valid. Now they’re finding new reasons to question their relationship.
When the name Alfred Hitchcock (Rope) comes up, most people don’t think about romantic comedies. This film was the only comedy film Hitchcock directed after coming to the United States to further his career. The story and script came from Norman Krasna (White Christmas). The cast for the film includes Carole Lombard (Made for Each Other), Robert Montgomery (They Were Expendable), and Gene Raymond (Red Dust). This movie would be the last of Carole Lombard’s films to be released before her untimely death.
This story is a somewhat thin but enjoyable romantic comedy that puts normal characters into highly unusual situations. The setup moves quickly and allows the hijinks to begin. The comedy is a mix of physical comedy and good dialogue. There are a number of little twists throughout the story, but it’s fairly predictable. While this isn’t a great story, it is a very fun one. Definitely better than many similar films from the era.
The acting in this movie is what helps the material to work so well. Alfred Hitchcock had specifically sought out a chance to work with Carole Lombard before this project came his way. The pairing brings out the comedic abilities that were often lost in the often weak comedies Lombard had worked on. The chemistry between Lombard, Montgomery, and Raymond is essential to the success of this one. The different dynamics between all three of these stars make the film fun. There is a nice amount of physical comedy that’s really fun as well. Overall, the stars did everything possible with such a weak script.
Alfred Hitchcock was never pleased with the way this film ended up. Despite his lack of enthusiasm the film made a profit for R.K.O. and most reviews were positive to varying degrees. The real issue might be that the comedy just isn’t bright enough. While there are tons of small laughs throughout the movie, there aren’t many big laughs. This is still a good recommendation for fans of any of the stars. I would also suggest this to Hitchcock fans since it’s such a unique film in his American filmography. I give this one 3.2 out of 5 stars.