Marion Davies is thoroughly delightful as Tony (don't DARE to call her Antoinette!), a vibrant and winning young lady who is eager to discover a new family, but unwilling to compromised herself to do so. The audience knows early on that Tony is not actually the daughter of Sir Basil (she had a half-sister, also named Antoinette, who died before Tony's birth). The script - and Ms. Davies - make it transparent that Tony is not there for wealth, she's there simply to meet her father - and if she doesn't like him, she's leaving!!
Marion Davies is an engaging actress who really should be seen more often. Though she was concerned about the move to talkies, she should not have been. Ignore the stories that she is the model for the untalented second Mrs. Kane in Citizen Kane - she's not. In his introduction to The Times We Had by Marion Davies, Mr Welles said: "Marion Davies was one of the most delightfully accomplished comediennes in the whole history of the screen. She would have been a star if Hearst had never happened. She was also a delightful and very considerable person." (WellesNet) With all the stories about William Randolph Hearst being the model for Charles Foster Kane, it's often forgotten that Citizen Kane is a work of fiction. It is true that Hearst wanted her to succeed as a dramatic actress, but Ms. Davies far preferred comedy. Her comedic timing was impeccable, and while I'm sure she is an excellent dramatic actress, her gift really was in comedy, as is evidenced in this film (which she also produced).
There are many Marion Davies stories - this one is rather nice. After Cecil Beaton commented that she was one of the six most beautiful women in Hollywood, he was invited to photograph her. When she arrived, she was wearing a high-neck dress. He had hoped to photograph her with bare shoulders - so she cut up the dress to give him the picture he wanted (TCM article).
This was Ray Milland's ninth film role, and while its not a big one, he does make an impression as Geoffrey, who despite his mother's antipathy (probably well-deserved) to Sir Basil, wants to form a relationship with his father. Mr. Milland worked for years, often as second lead, until he won an Oscar for The Lost Weekend (1945). But he had already done some really choice parts, including Gary Cooper's youngest brother in Beau Geste (1939), Ginger Roger's benefactor in The Major and the Minor (1942), and the musician who's house is haunted in The Uninvited (1944). Mr. Milland would act and direct until just before his death in 1986. He was survived by his wife of 54 years and two children.
A French version of the story, entitled Le père célibataire and starring Lili Damita, was released the same year as this version. Though successful upon release, the subject matter made sure it was not available for viewing after the Code was enforced. If you get a chance to see it, please do - we think you will enjoy it, and perhaps fall a little in love with Marion Davies.