[Get the Poster]

June Allyson
Jack Lemmon
Charles Bickford
Paul Gilbert
Jim Backus
Stubby Kaye
Jacques Scott
Allyn Joslyn

Dick Powell


Time: 95 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Comedy/Romance

SYNOPSIS: A rich heiress escapes from her father's clutches in order to return to the arms of her husband – a playboy her father disapproves of – and along the way falls in love with the reporter who pretends to help her.

BOTTOM LINE: It's hard to fathom what the studio was thinking when they greenlit this semi-musical remake of the classic screwball comedy IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT. No offense to Lemmon and Allyson, but they can't hold a candle to Gable and Colbert, especially since the film is almost filmed shot for shot, with the same dialogue and locations. I guess they added the musical numbers to try to liven it up and make this version seem different; however, neither lead is much of a singer nor are any of the songs actually memorable, so their breaking into song just seems odd and unneccesary. They do manage to have some chemistry, which helps the piece along, yet Lemmon isn't exactly the type of man one gives up a handsome playboy for...no matter how loving and honest he turns out to be.

While they're on the road to Houston, the film is enjoyable enough mostly because no ones bickers better than Lemmon. He's smart and sassy and doesn't let Allyson's bratty and naive character get away with anything, even though it's clear from the start that she needs all the help she can get. It's also obvious that he's smitten from the start, so when the film tries to convince you that he sold her out to collect the reward for turning her in, you never believe it, leaving the ending where he proves to be true a bit flat. Unlike Gable, who left you in doubt about his motives, Lemmon doesn't have enough of the rogue in him to be convincing as a cold-hearted lover. Allyson plays spoiled well, but she's just not convincing as an heiress. It's hard to imagine from this performance, that she'd capture the love and devotion of such a cynical reporter. The film is more fun when they're fighting than when they're canoodling, so it's a good thing the road to love doesn't run smooth. If you've seen the original, this version will be quite a disappointment. Otherwise, Lemmon fans will probably be amused enough.

"Remember me? I'm the fella you fell asleep on last night."

home | reviews | actors | actresses | film heaven | all reviews