Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Holy Matrimony (1943)

Holy Matrimony
Directed by John M. Stahl
Starring: Monty Woolley, Gracie Fields, Laird Cregar
Grade: B- [61]

One expects this comedy about an artist feigning his own death read more concisely than it plays out on screen, but Monty Woolley was a savant at making the stuffy seem worthwhile, and the situation’s no different here. There are points lost for ending a modest running time with a tepidly-played courtroom exchange (as was the trend in the ‘30s and ‘40s) but the Oscar-nominated script so ably details the dilemmas of the noble classes in this time, through the nobility of its central character himself,  that the plucky insight atones for oversights in plotting. It navigates that “Random Harvest” brand of rescue-through-cultural-escapism comedy jauntily, and that was surely the aim.

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