Sunday, March 08, 2009

Tonight's Movie: My Love Came Back (1940)

I've been catching up on some Olivia DeHavilland titles over the last couple weeks. Having recently watched her in GOLD IS WHERE YOU FIND IT (1938) and IN THIS OUR LIFE (1942), tonight's movie was the light comedy MY LOVE CAME BACK.

DeHavilland stars in the film as Amelia, a young violinist attending a music academy on a scholarship. The academy's new president (Charles Winninger) takes a personal interest in Amelia's education, anonymously increasing her scholarship and squiring her around town to various concerts. Although it's all very innocent on her part -- perhaps not quite so much on his -- various people get the wrong impression of their relationship, including Winninger's employee Tony (Jeffrey Lynn), who is attracted to Amelia.

The first half of the film moves a bit slowly, and the multiple misunderstandings grow tiresome. However, the movie gears up to a strong second half, helped in part by its excellent supporting cast, including Jane Wyman, Eddie Albert, and Spring Byington. I also enjoy Jeffrey Lynn, from the FOUR DAUGHTERS series.

It's fun watching DeHavilland and Wyman -- two future Oscar-winning actresses -- play roommates. DeHavilland is exquisitely lovely in this, and Wyman was still in the "dizzy blonde" phase of her career. The two actresses also costarred in the excellent 1943 comedy PRINCESS O'ROURKE, reviewed here.

The cast also includes S.Z. Sakall, Grant Mitchell, Ann Gillis (Becky Thatcher in Selznick's 1938 production of THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER), and William Orr, who later married Jack Warner's stepdaughter, actress Joy Page, and had a long career producing TV shows such as MAVERICK.

If you don't blink, you can see Mary Anderson in a dance scene. Anderson played Maybelle Merriwether in GONE WITH THE WIND and had roles in many good films including CHEERS FOR MISS BISHOP, THE SONG OF BERNADETTE, LIFEBOAT, and WILSON. Anderson was married to Oscar-winning cinematographer Leon Shamroy, whose credits include THE BLACK SWAN and LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN, two of the all-time great examples of '40s Technicolor photography.

My husband, as a musician, was impressed with DeHavilland's "faking" of violin playing. If IMDb is accurate, this was done through some ingenious trickery: in closeups DeHavilland was only controlling the bow, while someone hidden out of sight was doing the fingering.

MY LOVE CAME BACK was directed by Curtis Bernhardt. It was shot in black and white and runs 85 minutes.

This film has not had a video or DVD release, but it can be seen periodically on Turner Classic Movies.

The trailer can be viewed here.

February 2011 Update: This film is now available on DVD-R from the Warner Archive.


Blogger Tom said...

Thanks for posting this. I want to see this one! :)

9:30 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I hope you get to enjoy it soon, Tom!

Best wishes,

9:59 PM  

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