Monday, June 25, 2012

Jean Goes on an Adventure

Tonight, we join the lovely Jean Arthur for the first in a series of films that feature her in the lead.  Adventure in Manhattan (1936) has Jean starring as Claire Peyton, and beyond that, there is little I can tell you, as there are spoilers aplenty if I do.  Joining Jean is Joel McCrea as George Melville, a reporter noted for his unerring ability to predict crimes before they happen.  When a famous gem is stolen, George predicts the next robbery, and surmises that the robberies are the work of Belaire, a thief long believed to be dead.  By everyone, of course, except George.

It is interesting that this film is included on the Jean Arthur Comedy Collection, as it is really hard to class it AS a comedy (unless you view comedy in the more Elizabethan-theatrical vein).  Our first encounter with Claire is far from comedic, and very few of the incidents that occur will make you laugh.  Perhaps the only funny lines are at the end (and even then, for those of us who had been carefully watching, they were much more serious than we believed the authors actually intended.) This is certainly a film that will keep you guessing til the very end, but I would be interested to know if anyone else really believed this to be a "comedy." 
A lot of talent is involved in this under-viewed movie.  First, of course, is Ms. Arthur, who really is the consumate actress.  Joel McCrea, usually the boy-next-door, is rather arrogant as George, and well he should be, because George DOES think a lot of himself.  We also have such excellent character actors as Thomas Mitchell (as George's editor, Phil Bane) and Reginald Owen as Blackton Gregory.  An interesting and gifted cast, in a very different, and at times puzzling movie.

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