This entry into the screwball comedy genre comes by way of Columbia Studios and director Charles Vidor. It features Irene Dunne caught squarely in the eyesight of Mr. Charles Boyer’s romantic overtones. So I ask you, “What’s a girl to do?”
Irene plays the mayor of a small town outside of New York. That in itself should be considered something a bit different back in the day having a woman in a position of power. Kudos to the scriptwriter and producer Virginia Van Upp. Virginia herself was a woman ahead of her time being a producer under Harry Cohn’s iron fisted regime at Columbia.
Irene has more or less inherited the position from her late husband and town hero. When his statue in the town square is struck and ruined by lightning, Irene heads to New York to interview a sculptor in the hopes of designing a replacement.
Irene’s supposed interview is quickly turned against her and Boyer is asking all the questions. He claims he needs as much background as possible for inspiration. Why not dance the night away at a swank club featuring striptease artists. Through a comedy of errors, Irene is arrested in a police raid. Not good for one’s public image as the town mayor.
Irene quickly ditches Boyer and heads back home to the family which includes a teenage daughter on the verge of discovering boys played by Mona Freeman and her father-in-law Charles Coburn. Once again Coburn is stealing scenes as he keeps dropping the hint to Irene that what she needs is a man in her life. It’s the skill of the scriptwriter that can make these sexual innuendos so funny in the days of the pre-code system. You just have to listen for double entendre.
Coburn can tell that Irene has become quite taken with the sculptor from the big city and when Boyer shows up at the door of her home the comedic situations are bound to escalate. For both Irene and Boyer.
Boyer’s suave French accent is not only going to capture Irene’s heart but is sure to cause the young Freeman to fall for the older man. Thus we have both Mother and daughter vying for the affections of the famed romantic leading man.
Mona tries her best to look older and more sophisticated while Irene is doing her best to look that much younger and joyous. Coburn is just plain enjoying himself while sitting back and watching the chase.
You’ll have to tune in and see for yourself where the hilarity takes us as I’m not about to give it all away. But let me say there are plenty of funny vignettes to come and the comedy timing of Irene and Charles works well on camera.
Irene is fun to watch here as the widow who finds herself falling for Boyer’s charms. She’s doing her best to deny everything to herself, Boyer and the ever present rascal Coburn. She’s mindful to stand back on the dance floor. Worried about her position in the community. But most of all she’s just a joy to watch as she accepts the inevitable.
Boyer as the artist sculptor seems a sure fit and seeing a beautiful model show up at his door for nude posing seems like such a natural thing though it does cause some embarrassment for Dunne.
Carl Switzer aka “Alfalfa” shows up as well in a brief bit played for laughs as a bell hop for the trivia buffs.
The title of the film in itself doesn’t really suit but should be considered more of an advertising campaign pointing out that the two stars are acting opposite each other once again, having already done so quite famously in Love Affair and When Tomorrow Comes.
Not a classic of the genre but a great addition. I’m liking Dunne more and more as I catch up on her library of titles like the previously reviewed Theodora Goes Wild which was also in the same featured set on DVD.