Thursday, August 16, 2007

Big Brown Eyes (1936)

My *current favorite* - four stars!
Will definitely watch again!

This may be the only romantic comedy I've ever seen in which a baby is shot. Yes, the baby is shot by the villain's henchman, and yes, the happy couple spends the rest of the movie tracking him down and bringing him to justice. But still, you have to imagine how today's studio executive would have treated this script. I imagine the meeting in his office the day after he reads the script.
"In act two, a baby is shot?"
"It drives the plot!"
"A baby! Gets shot!"
"But it gives the story a moral depth..."
"Moral Schmoral, why can't we kill a bum - or a really fat guy? Nobody minds seeing an ugly person get shot!"
"But you see then it wouldn't be something the reporter could sensationalize!"
"You can sensationalize a bum!"
"How do you sensationalize a bum? A bum's not sentimental!"
"You're the writer, that's your job! You can make a bum sentimental if I tell you to!"

But I digress. This is my new favorite movie so I must tell you why! Cary Grant impersonates a woman flirting with himself (he's an amateur ventriloquist). Manicurists wear uniforms with little bows on them. The dialogue is faster than a machine gun. The women are smart and sassy and the men are big lugs who do their bidding without being aware of how easily they are played.

Can you see how all this adds up to a movie in which a baby being shot seems kind of irrelevant?

Benny: And me as honest as the day is long.
Eve: Yeah, but how 'bout the nights?
Benny: The nights too! I'm the soul of honesty.
Eve: You sure you don't mean 'the heel?'

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