CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fabulous Films Of The 1940's Blogathon: Mr. And Mrs. Smith (1941)

For my contribution to the Fabulous Films of the 1940's Blogathon I chose the only comedy Alfred Hitchcock, the master of suspense, did, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, starring my all time favorite actress Carole Lombard. This is my favorite film of hers by the way. Screwball comedies are my favorite type of films and this one fits quite nicely into that category. Well a bit. While not a full blown screwball comedy, it is quite fun and often hilarious nonetheless. 

David looking worried at the film's beginning

The film is set in bustling New York and begins with a married couple of three years named David and Ann Smith (great pairing of Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard) who tend to bicker and have these huge arguments from time to time when they are not speaking to one another. Such is the case at the film's beginning as the pair have been sequestered in their lavish apartment home while their staff shuttles them food and drink. This latest misunderstanding has been going on for three days and David's office, a law firm where his pal Jeff (a solid Gene Raymond) keeps calling to see has a truce been made. As Jeff sends over some critical papers for David to sign, the pair finally makes up and end up having breakfast together.

Ann and David make up after this three day session

But Ann asks a question which prompts an answer from David that doesn't exactly make her happy. She asks David if he had it to do it all over again would he. And he puts in honestly and bluntly, no he would not. He would not marry her and would remain single. Remember this key moment as it will become the focal point for the rest of the film.

But not for long because over breakfast Ann asks that pivotal question

While at work, David receives a guest in the form of Mr. Deever (Charles Halton) from Ann's hometown of Idaho comes a calling saying that the Smith's, along with several other hundreds of couples are not technically married, through some municipal and state jurisdictional matter at the time. David takes the news quite nicely but when Mr. Deever stops by their home to share the same news with Ann and Ann's mother, it doesn't have the same effect.

At dinner David tries to get the cat to have some soup...

David calls up and tells Ann they are going to the restaurant where he proposed to her and Ann believes it's where he will pop the question again. But alas things don't go that way and Ann begins to squirm as the night draws to a close. Meanwhile David is having the time of his life. Back home for a little champagne Ann finally snaps and throws a tantrum asking if and when David was going to ever marry her again. David tries to explain that he was just waiting for the right moment and before you know he is spending the night at The Beefeater's Club, a luxurious hotel where men go who are having domestic troubles. It's there he meets the seen it all Chuck (played by the always wonderful Jack Carson), who is a frequent regular at the hotel.

Mr. Deever drops by to share some news...

David tries to woo back Ann over the course of the rest of the film but Ann is steadfast in holding her ground. Saying she doesn't want to remarry David and instead finds a job and actually starts dating Jeff, much to David's chagrin. In fact the date Ann and Jeff goes on leads to a hilarious seen after Jeff catches cold and Ann tries to nurse him back to health with some liquor. At first Jeff is good to go but then it hits him like a ton of bricks and Gene Raymond gives a masterful drunken little scene. 

The gorgeous Carole Lombard

For the first hour, this film is golden. It does start to sag during the final half hour just a bit as Ann and Jeff take a getaway vacation to Lake Placid, in which David follows. But it rebounds right back during the closing scenes to make this a wonderful film. Like I said it is my favorite of Carole, and that's saying something, considering her resume which includes To Be Or Not To Be, Twentieth Century and My Man Godfrey. It's just something about this premise of a couple who truly love each other despite all their fighting and bickering. It's classic Hollywood star power in Carole and Robert with solid supporting turns. If you have never seen it, you have to check it out at least once.

Carole does quite a lot of finger pointing in this film


Page said...

I'm glad you chose Hitch's fab comedy for the Blogathon!

My favorite of Carole's films is My Man Godfrey but this film is pretty darn special and very funny too. I quite like Carole and Robert together. It's just a shame that she wasn't around to live a long life. She certainly had a long career ahead of her as well. I feel we only got to see just a bit of that potential but what we were left with was great.

I really enjoyed your review of Mr. and Mrs Smith, Monty!

Caftan Woman said...

Bob Montgomery makes the movie for me. I'll have to pay more attention to Carole the next time I watch it.

FlickChick said...

Great choice, Monty! Carole & Bob Montgomery are so cute together here. A thoroughly enjoyable film and a post to do it justice!

Rick29 said...

Monty, this is one of those films that eluded me for years. When I finally saw it, it wasn't what I expected from Hitchcock at all. I've read that he did the film as a favor to Carole. I agree that it sags a bit in the middle, but it's definitely an interesting change-of-pace in Hitchcock's filmography. And I enjoyed your write-up.

The Lady Eve said...

Monty, I love Hitchcock's screwball and am so glad you chose it for the blogathon. Lombard makes the movie for me (I'd have preferred Cary Grant as Mr. Smith - or as Mr. anybody, for that matter). My favorite of her films is probably "To Be or Not to Be" - but "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" is a very close second. For Hitchcock and Lubitsch, she sparkles (something that seemed to come naturally to her), but not too much.

KimWilson said...

Monty, I've never seen this. If you think it is as good as My Man Godfrey and To Be or not to Be, then it must be good.

Classicfilmboy said...

You wouldn't expect these two starts to click but they do in this film. Thanks for your post!

silverscreenings said...

I am so annoyed that I have never seen this movie!! Doh!

Thanks for a wonderful review and a great contribution to the blogathon. :)

Aubyn Eli said...

I'd love to get a look at an alternate universe where Hitchcock directed screwball comedies and Ernest Lubitsch directed thrillers. Not because I don't love the work they did do but just to get a taste of how it could have been. Sadly, I've never seen this one, even though it's been a part of my Hitchcock box set for years. Shameful laziness on my part.

Dawn Sample said...

You take Hitchcock's sense of humor, mix it with a little Carole Lombard and some how it works..

I think.. Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery, make a wonderful "Mr. and Mrs. Smith".

I agree.. it does slow down quite a bit towards the end, but.. it's still a nice romantic comedy...


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