Monday, January 11, 2010

Carole Loves Cary

We decided to keep looking at Carole Lombard's more serious movies, so we went what I suspect is her most melodramatic role - In Name Only (1939).  Carole plays Julie Eden, a widow,  supporting herself, her young daughter, and her sister, by working as a free-lance artist.  Chance meetings with Alec Walker (Cary Grant) result in attraction, until she discovers he is married.  But, she soon realizes that Alec's marriage to Maida (Kay Francis) is a marriage of convenience. Well, convenient for Maida anyway - she has his name, his money, and the love of his parents.  Alec tells Maida that he wants out to marry Julie, but she manages to stall any activity until Julie leaves him in despair.  And then, the movie gets complicated.

I'm a fan of Kay Francis. I love her lisp and her elegance, and she certainly is elegant here. She is also a total witch.  I think this is the only movie in which I've seen her that she is just SO nasty.  And to Cary Grant! Unthinkable!  But she is terrific.  We (the audience) know how terrible she is but she still has the charm and smarts to make everyone around her believe she is nearly a saint. 

We were pleased to see a very young Peggy Ann Garner as Julie daughter, Ellen. She is quite appealing. The scene in which she calls Alec to get him over the the house for Christmas is delightful.  Another delight was the always wonderful Charles Coburn as Alec's father.  We had just seen him in The Devil and Miss Jones, and were amazed to learn that he has not been in movies before the age of 60.  He contributes so much to every film in which he appears, one would think he had been doing it his entire life.

But let us not forget our romantic leads.  Carole Lombard and Cary Grant are delightful together.  Julie and Alec's love is simple and sweet. One can see Alec falling into the mode of father and husband, in a gentle, loving relationship.  Certainly, Julie is lovely. But unlike Maida, she is not elegant or part of the social elite.  The life Alec wants is what he didn't get with Maida - a simple home, a little girl pestering him to discover what her Christmas present is, and a wife who loves him for himself, not his family, position, or bankroll.

And for those of you who would like a glimpse of this gem, here is a small preview:



Join us again soon for our next Lombard movie: Made for Each Other.

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