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   THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY-SOXER (1947) 

CAST
Cary Grant
Myrna Loy
Shirley Temple
Rudy Vallee
Ray Collins
Harry Davenport
Johnny Sands
Don Beddoe
Lillian Randolph
Veda Ann Borg

DIRECTED BY
Irving Reis

PURCHASE


DVD



About Grant




Time: 95 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Romantic Comedy


THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY-SOXER is not one of my Top 10 Cary Grant films, but that doesn't mean it isn't still a delightful romantic comedy. This is the first onscreen pairing of Grant and Loy and they have wonderful chemistry together. It takes awhile for his bad boy charm to melt her intelligent aloofness, but that just means more fun for the us. I've seen this film several times and it never fails to surprise me how great actors can make mediocre stories into cinema gems. Shirley Temple, in one her few "adult" roles, practically steals the show as Loy's younger sister whose desperate love for Grant helps bring the couple together. After watching her performance here, it's no wonder she was one of the biggest child celebrities on the planet. The roles aren't exactly a stretch for any of them, but they give them a sparkle only true stars can muster.

The film begins with the introduction of the two sisters: Margaret (Loy), a local judge and Susan (Temple), a high school senior. Both have admirers – Susan's is a basketball player named Jerry (Sands) and Margaret's is the Asst. District Attorney Tommy Chamberlain (Vallee) – but neither is bowled over by their attentions. They both happen to meet Richard Nugent (Grant), a well-known American painter, on the same day, though under vastly different circumstances.

In Margaret's case, he's brought before her in court on a charge for starting a fight in a local night club. His charms have no effect on her, she sees him as a degenerate, but she is nonetheless forced to let him go, as he was not the only one to blame in the incident. Susan meets him at her high school, where he's the guest lecturer. An overly-intellectual girl, she sees him as her knight in shining armor, a man who will rescue her from the childishness around her. Richard is flattered by her interest in him, but Susan's just a teenager and he has his standards.


"Susan's growing pains are rapidly becoming a major disease."

When Margaret finds out Richard was the guest lecturer, she is initially appalled, but does nothing to stop her sister's infatuation, which seems to change by the week, depending on the speaker. Unfortunately, Susan is convinced Richard is also in love with her. She gets him into further trouble with the judge by being found in his apartment. Richard did not invite Susan and knew nothing of her arrival, but that doesn't really sway the verdict his way. So, instead of going to jail, Richard agrees to a plan by the girls' Uncle Matt (Collins) to break Susan's infatuation with him...and hopefully turn Margaret's head in his direction. Instead of forbidding Susan to see Richard, they want him to date her, believing that his attainability will make him less attractive. Richard agrees because he has little choice and begins attending high school functions with Susan, who puts on her most sophisticated airs. Richard can do nothing but pretend to enjoy himself and try to get Susan re-interested in Jerry.

Meanwhile, Uncle Matt is singing Richard's praises to Susan, which doesn't sit well with Tommy. After a local picnic, where Richard wins the trophy Margaret begins to see him in a more attractive light. Tommy agrees to drop the charges against Richard, so that the ladies will no longer be required to spend time with him. Since, he's now free of Susan, Richard asks Margaret out on a date to a fancy nightclub at which point all hell break's loose. What begins as a meeting of the minds ends with both ladies and all the men mad at Richard. It's quite a scene, showcasing Grant's charm and comic ability at it's highest level. In the end, it's Uncle Matt to the rescue, bringing both ladies to their senses, maneuvering them into the arms of the man that's right for them.

There are several key scenes that make this movie an enjoyable piece of fluff, in addition to the gorgeous presence of Mr. Grant. The first is the races at the picnic where Richard keeps getting bested by Tommy. It's rare to see Grant doing things so suburban as a 3-legged race or obstacle course. He's generally a tux and martini kind of man, but he manages to pull this sequence off with endearing goofiness and never-ending style. Grant's not afraid to look foolish, as long as there's a laugh involved. The second is the aforementioned night club sequence where he's trying to woo Margaret and everyone from an old girlfriend to Susan's high school boyfriend Jerry interrupt the works. The arrival of each person digs him into a bigger and bigger hole with Margaret, eventually leaving him alone, stunned at the proceedings. The dialogue and characters move at lightening speed as his apparent deception is unravelled. Their table ends up being louder and more visited than the Grand Canyon in July. Comedy rarely gets better than this.

As stated earlier the rest of the plot is pretty similar to most other comedies of the day. However, the quick dialogue and interesting characters make it a lively affair. At an hour and a half, the film moves at just the right pace, explaining enough to give the characters depth, but not lingering so long that you get bored. Grant has great chemistry with both women, even though he's only placating Temple's character. This film would never have been made in this day and age. A man in his late 30s dating a 17-year-old is just not acceptable. Even for a comedy. The only thing that keeps it from being creepy is Grant's obvious disinterest and barely stifled annoyance with Temple. And the fact that the filmmaker's clearly mean it too be a joke. If you're a fan of Grant and have seen his other great screwball comedies, like BRINGING UP BABY and ARSENIC AND OLD LACE, this is not a bad way to indulge in a little Cary.


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