Monday, June 02, 2008

Too Many Husband; The Lash

Back when Ioway first got the t & v (around 1953) most of the fare was movies from the Thirties and Forties. I quickly developed passionate crushes on a number of leading ladies. One of my primary heartthrobs was little Jean Arthur. The knock on her was that she wasn't Carole Lombard-beautiful or Constance Bennett-elegant. She was cute and pert and sort of dizzy but not your average knock-out. Maybe it was that hoarse voice of hers. Or the cute faces she made when she got confused. Or the girl-next-door earnestness. Mighty was my crush on Jean Arthur.

It continues to this day. I always check Turner for her movies, even ones I've seen a number of times. This afternoon Turner ran Too Many Husbands, a 1919 Somerset Maugham play adpated to the screen and given a screwball comedy propulsion.

Here's the IMDB synopsis:

I've just discovered this lighthearted film today on tv and must admit it has all the fine elements that make for a good stage play -- plenty of sure-fire dialogue, continual momentum to the story (never a dull moment), and light touches of original music. There are some hilarious moments so downright comical it made me burst out laughing. Just accept it as one more comedy of that era and you'll enjoy it nicely without having to make comparisons or look for weaknesses. Harry Davenport as the father adds his wisdom where he can. I feel all the actors had a good romp in this movie and I liked the repartee amongst them very much. Not sure precisely how it ended so will need to see it again some day. It's a fun movie indeed.

Ed here: I sure do agree. I laughed out loud throughout the movie. This was kind of a screwball version of Jules and Jim with a pretty dicey ending for its time--Arthur ends up with McMurray (her legal husband) but Douglas hangs on as the best friend (much against McMurray's will) at Arthur's insistence. The final scene is in a in a tony nightclub where everybody is doing one of those uptempo change-partner deals--with with both McMurray and Douglas dancing with her and refusing to concede. Douglas and Arthur look quite happy about it. McMurray not so much. Really great fade out scene.

The three of them were excellent and Jean Arthur was a solid 1000 on the Fetching meter. Melvyn Douglas was as cynical and droll as he was in Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (I know, Cary Grant fans hate that movie) and McMurray was as usual charming in the bumbling hesitant style of all his comedies.

And how can you knock a movie with the wonderful Harry Davenport and the sly Edgar Buchanan as a big city detective who thinks (correctly) Arthur is a bigamist?
I came across this fact last night. I either knew it and forgot it or it was new to me--Harrison Ford learned to wield the whip in the first Indy film from his instructor Lash La Rue!


pattinase (abbott) said...

I watched it too and the end was just perfect. I was kind of expecting the secretary's boyfriend to come along and be the perfect husband though. Arthur could do more with her face...
And Douglas could flop into a chair better than anyone

Cap'n Bob said...

As a big Cary Grant fan I didn't know I was supposed to hate Mr. Blandings. I feel so dumb: I like it.

Mark Justice said...

When I was a kid I was digging around in my grandparents' attic where I found a photo of Lash, signed to my father, circa mid-40s.

Many years later I met Lash at Roy Rogers Days in Portsmouth, OH. During that visit Jock Mahoney made a joke about the size of Lash's "whip". Alcohol may have been involved. :^)

Craig Clarke said...

Hate Mr. Blandings? Heaven forbid. Not with both Grant and Myrna Loy! Why, it's almost as enjoyable as The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer. ("You remind me of a man...")