Friday, January 13, 2012

Tom, Dick and Harry (1941)

Janie (Ginger Rogers) has a simple plan: to marry a rich fella and live happily ever after. But reaching her goal gets complicated when she finds herself engaged to not one, but three different men: ambitious Tom (George Murphy), wealthy Dick (Alan Marshal), and happy-go-lucky Harry (Burgess Meredith). What’s a girl to do?
           This is an extremely amusing comedy, with a clever, if gimmicky, premise: Janie after Janie goes on a date with each of her boyfriends, she has a dream in which she pictures married life with one of them will be like. The repeated structure worked out beautifully with each alteration; these sequences are laugh out loud funny, and quite odd and surreal. Of the Forgotten Films that I have watched so far, this is one of my favorites.  It’s the kind off film that leaves you feeling warm, fuzzy, and just plain happy inside.
            Now, this was not a perfect movie. The characters are two-dimensional (at best), and much of enjoyment of the film hangs on your tolerance for Rogers continually baiting her poor fiancees.
            Thankfully the film itself manages to overcome these flaws. All the actors are wonderful, somehow managing to invest their paper-doll personas with charm and humor (with the exception Phil Silvers, who is in a (mercifully) brief cameo).
            As if you couldn’t tell, I really, really liked this quirky movie, and whole-heartedly recommend it. This is one romantic comedy that defies your expectations, in the most wonderfully weird ways possible.

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