Thursday, March 24, 2016

My Favorite Wife (1940)

I'm not the biggest Irene Dunne fan. You might say, "I'm done with Dunne." (Tee hee, puns.) In this movie, she plays Cary Grant’s presumed-dead wife, missing ever since she was swept overboard during an Anthropological expedition seven years before. But on the same day Grant declares her dead and gets married to Gail Patrick, guess who shows up at his honeymoon hotel? 
            An enjoyable movie with a clever set-up, not as funny as I though it would be, but still amusing. Grant's more refrained in his double-taking comic business than usual, with some golden expressions of exasperation. Dunne's OK; as I stated before, she's far from one of my favorite actresses, but I have liked some of the movies she's been in (like The Silver Chord). Here she's smart and sassy, like Joan Blondell with the edges sanded off and waxed. 
            I had no difficulty suspending my disbelief for the sake of Dunne and fellow island playmate Randolph Scott somehow managing to survive on a desert island for seven years. But it was a little more difficult to see how such an amazing tale of survival could escape notice of the press. Nevertheless, one must remember that logic is second fiddle in comedy. There are complications, mistaken identities, deceit, and coincidences all for the sake of conflict, rounded out by a punchline, and caped off by a happy ending, of course. After all, this is Hollywood.

            I guess you have a few hours to kill, you can’t lose with this fine comedy about the marriage, in and out of the courtroom and the bedroom. There's nothing extraordinary about it, but there are a few surprises and funny moments.

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