Monday, August 1, 2011

Mogel Joan

This week, we were able to get hold of 1942's They All Kissed the Bride.  In it, Joan Crawford plays Margaret J. Drew, the head of a trucking company. She is a stern boss, with a passel of rules for her employees, which makes her despised and dreaded by her truck drivers. Enter Michael Holmes (Melvyn Douglas) who is publishing articles on her tyrannies, much to her ire.  Michael meets her (though she doesn't know who he is) when he crashes the wedding of MJ's younger sister Suzie (Mary Treen).  Rapidly, MJ and Michael become involved as he tries to loosen up this very up-tight lady.  She, however is immediately attracted to this unknown man.

This is a particularly odd little movie.  First of all, the title has NOTHING to do with the plot. We barely see the bride, in fact, we see more of her groom as the action progresses.  Also, the film can't decide if it wants to be a screwball comedy or a romance.  Clearly filmed (at some point) after the start of World War II, it makes only passing reference to the war, and there is no implication that all the male characters will soon be deep into the fighting.  And Crawford's MJ is rather annoying.  She WANTS to be the head of her father's company, but she acts like a total idiot when she meets Michael.  Oh, sure, love at first sight and all that, but really!! There is no way anyone could efficiently run a conglomerate like MJ does, yet be such a blithering moron.  Poor Melvyn Douglas doesn't get to do much better, really.  Michael is pretty much as silly - and he KNOWS who MJ is. At least she has the excuse of ignorance.

Some good supporting actors here - Billie Burke is very sweet (and of course, addled) as MJ's mother;  and Roland Young is rather likeable as MJ's business associate, Mr. Marsh.  Here's a scene where she meets Allen Jenkins:

 But in the long run, one rather wishes the authors and director had made a decision about which direction they wanted the picture to take.  Instead, they end up with a mishmash that never does find its genre.

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