Thursday, October 31, 2013
Hitchcock Halloween Blogathon: Mr. and Mrs. Smith
For my contribution to the Backlots Hitchcock Halloween 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. And it does feature a little suspense every now and then. Well not really but you can still enjoy this film as a departure from what Hitchcock normally does.
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
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 by a great cast. If you have never seen it, you have to check it out at least once. And it's great seeing Hitchcock do an all out comedy as most of his films always some humor and comedy in them. So you knew he was capable of doing a film like this. And he did it awesomely!
Carole does a lot of finger pointing in this movie..haha