Thursday, June 5, 2014

George's Wives

The silence on our end was occasioned by a number of activities involving your humble scribe - one of which was her recent marriage.  Now that we are back to our normal routine, we begin with a 1936 film.  Snowed Under stars George Brent as playwright Alan Tanner, Genevieve Tobin as his first ex-wife Alice Merrit, and Glenda Farrell as SECOND ex-wife Daisy Lowell, all trapped in the mountains after a snowstorm.

Alan Tanner is a successful playwright, however his latest play is proving to be a difficult nut to crack - he can't seem to get the third act written.  He's retreated to a mountain cabin to write.  His publisher is not convinced that Alan can complete the play, so he asks ex-wife Alice to go up and visit Alan, and possibly help him with the writing.  She arrives to find Alan under siege from his would-be next wife (Patricia Ellis as Pat Quinn), Daisy, Sheriff Orlando Rowe (Frank McHugh), and Daisy's lawyer McBride (John Eldredge) - the latter two enlisted by Daisy to collect back alimony.  Thus, a quiet weekend devolves into a loud, frantic mess.

Quite frankly, this is a fairly stupid film.  Sure, it's a farce, with lots of running around and slamming doors and yelling.  While you want it to be a film version of the famous play Noises Off, what you get instead is a not-very-witty hodgepodge of romance and mayhem.

There are so many good actors here, you would think they could pull something out of their hat to rescue this mess, but they can't.  George Brent is given very little character to work with.  Mostly, he is passive, with his various women throwing things at him. Genevieve Tobin has a little more to work with, and as a result is more enjoyable.  But when  you get to such usually fantastic actors as Frank McHugh and Glenda Farrell, one throws up one's hands in frustration.  McHugh is downright annoying as Orlando, and Farrell is WAY too  over-the-top as Daisy.  You can't wait for the scenes with them to be over.  It's rather hard to understand why Alan married Daisy (just as it is equally hard to understand his attraction to Pat).  While both are attractive in their own way, they are equally hard on the nerves - a quality that is already visible in Pat.  And Daisy's crudeness is clearly not of recent vintage.

Both Ellis and Tobin retired shortly after the release of Snowed Under - Tobin to marry William Keighley; Ellis to wed a Kansas City businessman.  Both women had over 40 films credits when they left the industry, but neither had been able to rise to leading lady status.  This TCM article provides some history for the film, as well as some information on the critical reception.

We end with a trailer which will give you a quick overview of the film.  Next time, we turn back to the Pre-code era for a Nancy Carroll film.


3 comments:

  1. great review. love the fact that you just state it is stupid. so glad to read an honest review. just cause a movie is old does not make it great. now, how about a few details on the nuptials?? love good wedding stories!

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    1. We had a very small wedding - just family and close friends - in a small pub named McGinty's in Silver Spring, MD. A dear friend who is an Episcopal priest officiated, and my cousin gave me away. I had a gorgeous dress (that was very inexpensive). The food was amazingly good, and the service was outstanding. We had the best time!

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  2. thanks for sharing. sounds sweet!

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