Time: 73 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
SYNOPSIS: A telemarketer and night watchman/artist are forced by their landlord to share a room in 12-hour shifts because neither can afford the rent on their own. Neither is happy with the situation (sharing a room outside of marriage is a big no-no) and though they've never met, each harbors a great dislike for the other's habits and presumed lifestyle. Of course, they meet outside the building and quickly fall in love, not realizing they are their own roommate and sworn enemy.
BOTTOM LINE: If you watch enough movies, you'll be firmly convinced that there are no new ideas anymore. Even this simple romantic comedy has been remade over the years – into the equally forgettable THE NIGHT WE NEVER MET. While neither film could be considered awful, they both are just so contrived that it's hard to fully believe the premise. One can hardly blame the landlord in this situation. He wants to be helpful and he genuinely likes his tenants, but he needs money to survive, too. It's a pretty clever idea on the surface. In one of her first leading roles – before she becomes famous for dancing with Fred Astaire – Rogers tests out her comedy and romance skills, proving her star potential. She has an innate intelligence and class despite playing a desperate girl one paycheck from the street. She's not about to be taken advantage of, though she's not afraid of using her charms to get what she wants. She has good chemistry with Norman Foster, an actor I have never seen or heard of before this picture. He's a decent romantic foil and his unrelenting energy pairs with her sense of humor to give the film some much-needed spark.
The plot goes to great lengths to bring these two people together while also being forced to keep them apart. The pranks they play on each other as angry roommates are supposed to give the film humor and they succeed on a base level. Nothing happens that will make you laugh out loud, but I did crack a smile or two. Mostly due to the talent of Laura Hope Crews who plays Foster's wanna-be patron/lover, who's always drunk and easily offended. He refuses to be a kept man even to gain recognition for his art or pay his rent. She's rich, entitled and not about to be dismissed. Her comic timing is impeccable and she steals every scene she's in. Her confrontation with Rogers crackles with wit and energy with neither lady conceding the floor. On the flip side, I found Benchely's performance as Rogers' lecherous boss a bit creepy and distasteful, which I guess was the point, but still. His obsession with her is played for humor, but it made my skin crawl a little. She's clearly not interested, buddy. Back off. George Sidney's performance as their meddling landlord also adds some clever comic moments to the picture. It goes without saying that things don't initially go so well when they finally come face to face as roommates, but their anger can't hold down their love for long. A film that thankfully kept it short and sweet. A stronger leading man might have brought it to another level, but it's perfectly pleasant as it is.