Monday, December 14, 2009

Wayne and Colbert

Again, we had a bit of a break in our meetings, but we are back together, and decided to follow up The Searchers with another (and very different John Wayne movie.  This time, we saw Without Reservations, a light comedy feature Claudette Colbert as hit writer Christopher "Kit" Madden (think of her as Margaret Mitchell crossed with Ayn Rand), whose best-seller is about to be turned into a motion picture.  En route to the west coast, Kit meets two fliers, Rusty Thomas (John Wayne) and Dink Watson (Don DeFore). A few seconds with Rusty, and Kit is convinced that he is the embodiment of her lead character, Mark Winston.  She attaches herself to him, in hopes that he will portray her character in the upcoming movie. 

We found it a bit disconcerting to see Claudette Colbert going so totally gaga over a man as to be downright silly.  She doesn't want to tell Wayne her real name, so she adopts the pseudonym Kit - short for Kitty - Klotch.  Klotch?? She is a writer; one would think she could write herself a better character. And then she gets on a train without a ticket (because the boys are going on the less expensive train. She has first class accommodations on the SuperChief). Of course, hijinks  ensue, and love - eventually - follows.  Here's a scene on the train, in which Rusty discusses Kit's book:



On the plus side was a cameo by Cary Grant (always welcome), and Don DeFore as Dink was quite fun.  We spoke at some length about DeFore, an actor who we felt was highly underrated, and probably should have had a more extensive career.  But John Wayne making eyes at Dona Drake (as Dolores Ortega) just made no sense when the lovely Claudette was there.  We kinda wondered why Kit would stand around doing dishes while the men flirt with Dolores. The car they are in belongs to Kit. If WE were Kit, we would have left them behind!! (And gone looking for Cary Grant).

Okay, so not our favorite movie, but we didn't hate it. It's tongue is mostly in its cheek, and it does seem to know how totally silly it all is.  With the second World War over, this lighthearted look at a couple of fliers must have been a welcome relief.

We will be back soon. We'll be spending some time with the glorious Carole Lombard.