Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tonight's Movie: Love in the Rough (1930)

Can a poor shipping clerk who plays a great game of golf find happiness with a millionaire's daughter? That's the extent of the plot in LOVE IN THE ROUGH, an early talkie musical starring Robert Montgomery as the shipping clerk and Dorothy Jordan as his wealthy love. The characters meet when Montgomery, playing a champion municipal golfer, accompanies his boss to a country club to help him improve his golf game.

Much of the first two-thirds of the film is well-nigh unwatchable, focusing far too much on obnoxious Benny Rubin as Montgomery's pal and caddy. The plot doesn't go anywhere very fast, and one is tempted to reach for the fast-forward button to get past the excruciating Rubin scenes.

The last third of the film is more interesting, with a lovely waltz scene followed by Montgomery and Jordan eloping. Finally, some plot development! In these scenes Montgomery is touchingly romantic, and Jordan is sweet as his starry-eyed bride who is unaware of her new husband's lowly career status.

Some of the musical scenes are very much in the '20s style, with ukeleles, and are not very impressive, but there is a cute Montgomery-Jordan duet called "Go Home and Tell Your Mother"; Montgomery appears to do his own singing.

The supporting cast includes Dorothy McNulty, later known as Penny Singleton, who would star in the BLONDIE film series.

I'd love to know where the country club scenes were filmed. As a comment at IMDb points out, the film is historically interesting inasmuch as it's an early talkie with a significant number of action scenes filmed outdoors; this was a challenge for early sound technology.

Dorothy Jordan left the screen in 1933, when she married Merian C. Cooper, who produced many of John Ford's films. She returned to movies two decades later, appearing in three of Ford's films before retiring from film acting for good. Her best-known role for Ford was as the ill-fated Martha Edwards in THE SEARCHERS.

LOVE IN THE ROUGH was directed by Charles Reisner. It runs 84 minutes. This was a remake of a silent movie, SPRING FEVER (1927), which starred William Haines and Joan Crawford.

LOVE IN THE ROUGH isn't available on VHS or DVD, but is part of the library at Turner Classic Movies.

All in all, this film should be seen by Robert Montgomery completists or those interested in early sound films, but I found much of the film to be fairly slow going.

February 2010 Update: This movie is now available on DVD-R from the Warner Archive.


Blogger Bill Mannion said...

For those that don't know it, the picture was made in 1930 at the Lake Norconian Hotel and Golf Club. The golf course opened in December 1928 and was designed by John Duncan Dunn. The resort lasted until December 8, 1941 when it was sold to the Navy and became a Naval Hospital. The hotel and golf club never reopened. The movie is a little creaky since it was made only a few years after the movies started to talk but there is a lot of golfing action on the course and you get a good look at the one-of-a-kind hotel. The course looked very new and was virtually treeless.

5:12 PM  

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