Sunday, July 17, 2011

Three Loves Has Nancy (1938)

Robert Montgomery is a distinct improvement over Robert Young. I'm sorry, but I just don't get that funny feeling in the pit of my tummy for poor little Robert Young that Robert Montgomery can give me.

Janet Gaynor's a cutie, too and it's her routine that carries this movie.
So the premise here is that Nancy's fiance goes missing on her wedding day, so, naturally, she goes to New York to fetch him. Nancy is a small-town girl from the south and has never traveled. On the train she meets Mr. Niles (Montgomery), who is returning to New York because he's heard that Vivian, the pest of a girl who is trying to corner him and wring a proposal out of him, has finally left for Europe.
Nancy is a complete bumpkin and gets herself into trouble at every turn. Mr. Niles first helps her, then helping her turns into a disaster and he never wants to see her again.
When she can't find George, however, she turns up on Niles' doorstep with perfect timing - he uses her to convince Vivian he is engaged to someone else.
Now ensconced in his life, Nancy turns his world and the world of his publisher, next door neighbor, and best friend, Mr. Hanson, upside-down - just by being herself.
It's a tour-de-force performance by Gaynor who is perfectly convincing with the help of her neat but completely unfashionable outfits. Bustling around innocently, she's actually quite clever. At one point Mr. Niles is interrupted by the telephone for the third time in a row and says "who invented those things, anyway?" and she replies with crisp precision: "Alexander Graham Bell," and adds, "in 1865." She'll teach you a thing or two, MISTER Niles.
Margo and I were actually laughing out loud at some of the slapstick scenes and there were a lot of great one-liners.
Still searching for the missing fiance, Nancy finds his ukele at a shop where he used to work. She bursts into tears, "George's ukele!" The store clerk just looks at her with stony indifference and quips "You'd cry more over it if you had to hear him play!"
After a long evening of monologues from Joan Crawford and earnest expressions of virtue from gamblers, it was really nice just to laugh.
Margo and I both proclaimed this a buried gem that we put in a category with Bringing Up Baby and we would definitely watch it again. Four stars.

1 comment:

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