Monday, May 24, 2010

Olivia Gets Gas

Our movie today is 1938's Hard to Get. Olivia plays spoiled heiress Margaret Richards; out on a lark, she meets auto mechanic (and unemployed architect Bill Davis (played by Dick Powell, with only a little bit of singing).  Margaret pulls into Dick's gas station and demands he fill her auto - on credit.  No id, no money, no nothing.  Since he has already filled her car, he demands repayment - she has to clean all the rooms in his autocourt. Of course, she wants revenge. And, of course (since this is a screwball comedy), they fall in love.

The beginning of this movie very much reminded us of the (serious) 1933 Ginger Rogers/Joel McCrea movie Chance at Heaven,wherein Joel fills the tank of another fund-less/id-less heiress and finds himself  in love (only Joel doesn't make her clean up afterwards).  And Olivia's Margaret harkened back to another screwball - Marcia West from It's Love I'm After. Dick Powell only gets to sing for a tiny bit; mostly,  he gets to be thrown on his head.  And Charles Winninger (as Margaret's irracible father Ben), gets to be, well, irracible. Interestingly, we also have a brief appearance by Bonita Granville, again playing Olivia's younger sister.  Sadly, she is only on screen for about 5 minutes total (at the beginning and end of the movie), but she is always delightful.

In 2010, the idea of a young woman gallivanting around town in her roadster without a cent in her pocket or any kind of id is rather unbelievable (we hoped she didn't want to get into a government building on her sojourn!!). Heck, when a police officer shows up, he isn't even concerned that she is without a driver's license! But, regardless of the silliness, and the fairly unbelievable plot, this is a fun movie, with a good cast. It made us laugh. We think it will delight you as well.  To get you ready, here's a trailer:




Next week, we take a break from comedy - join us for a more serious side of our heroine.

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