Sunday, November 29, 2009

Kiss and Make Up (1934)

Oh no no no! Not a good Cary Grant movie!

Cary Grant plays the dashing Dr. Lamar of the famous Dr. Lamar's Temple of Beauty. Having given up his scientific ideals after medical school, Dr. Lamar is a cosmetic surgeon and beauty specialist who promises to help all women achieve "the pink and white complexion that is every woman's birthright." Should I mention that these words are spoken as we watch a black African woman and her two daughters sitting on the floor of their tropical home and rubbing Dr. Lamar's suggested face cream all over their faces?

Of course all of the women in Dr. Lamar's life are desperately in love with him, from patients to secretary Annie, played by Helen Mack. One woman who is in the office to inquire about a procedure for her mother even strips down to her slip when asked before admitting that she is not in fact a patient. Dr. Lamar's beauty ideals and the female "masterpieces" that he has created around him blind him to the beauty of "normal" women such as Annie. Annie can't be bothered to powder her nose, and she is actually capable of getting dressed in 15 minutes, "zippers permitting."

Dr. Lamar's real trouble begins when he falls for a married patient. Mrs. Caron has been visiting him for a very long time, much to the displeasure of Mr. Caron (Edward Everett Horton). Mr. Caron is horrified by the transformation his wife has undergone and threatens, "Doctor, put my wife back the way she was when I married her, or I'll take steps." Mr. Caron does not want his wife back the way she was because of his great love for her, though. He finds her to be too high maintenance now and is also adamant that a beautiful wife will be surrounded by lovers. "Do you realize what the husband of a woman like that is up against?" At first Dr. Lamar resists all of Mrs. Caron's advances (because of course the woman is trying to trap the poor innocent man).
"Are you so professional with all your patients?"
"Then why am I so...honored?"
But when Mr. Caron finally divorces his wife, Dr. Lamar very quickly marries her, "his masterpiece." For some reason Annie remains enamored with Dr. Lamar through all of this, even when he ditches her in his apartment, where she is taking dictation for his book, to run off to meet his gorgeous former patient Mrs. Caron.

Dr. Lamar and his new wife go off on their honeymoon, bringing Annie along so that she can continue to take dictation for the book. Of course Mr. Caron is also at the honeymoon resort celebrating his new freedom. Who does he fall for? Annie.
Possible best exchange of the movie, after Annie meets Mr. Caron while swimming...
Dr. Lamar: You allow men to pick you up in the water?
Annie: Why not? I weigh less there.

Of course Dr. Lamar realizes that he cannot make it to dinner on time with a wife who needs so much primping time. And of course he is horrified by the tasteless food she eats. And of course he is disgusted when he sees her in her face mask at night. I'm sure you can guess the ending of the movie. But do you know what funny animal is featured in the unnecessary high speed car chase leading to the end? Watch if you want to find out. (Or read the labels at the bottom of this post...)

One star. I may someday end up seeing it again, though, because of the fact that I own it in a box set. A previously unmentioned reason to maybe see this movie is that there are a few songs involved. Less of a draw is the ode to corn beef and cabbage sung by Annie and Mr. Caron. More of a draw is the song that Cary Grant sings twice about "Love Divided by Two."

1 comment:

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