Saturday, May 02, 2009

Tonight's Movie: Affectionately Yours (1941)

Sue (Merle Oberon) has divorced her newspaper reporter husband Ricky (Dennis Morgan), who has only been home seven months of their five-year marriage. Sue plans to marry Owen, much to Ricky's dismay; since Owen is played by the perennial romantic comedy second fiddle, Ralph Bellamy, you can probably guess whether or not Ricky successfully blocks Sue's new marriage in AFFECTIONATELY YOURS.

AFFECTIONATELY YOURS is brightened by the appearance of Rita Hayworth as Irene, Ricky's colleague who wishes he would forget about his wife and focus on her. Otherwise, it's a fairly tepid, slow-paced film despite an excellent cast.

The movie does have one excellent sequence in the last half of the film, where Oberon tries to set Morgan up with a terrible blind date, but he discovers her plot and substitutes glamorous Hayworth as his dinner date, to Oberon's chagrin. If the rest of the film had had the spark that this dinner party sequence has, it would have been a much better movie.

It also occurred to me that two of the film's three leads were talented musical performers; perhaps if Morgan and Hayworth had been able to do some singing and dancing it would have made for a livelier movie! The film is passably entertaining, but when it came to a conclusion I was ready for it to end.

Hattie McDaniel and Butterfly McQueen, who of course appeared together in GONE WITH THE WIND (1939), appear in similar roles in this film as Oberon's maids. The supporting cast also includes James Gleason, George Tobias, Jerome Cowan, and Renie Riano. Familiar faces among those appearing in bit parts are Frank Faylen, Dorothy Adams, Mary Field, Douglas Kennedy, and Faye Emerson.

Alexis Smith can be spotted in a bit part as one of Merle Oberon's bridesmaids, while Smith's future real-life husband, Craig Stevens, appears in a tiny role as part of an ambulance crew.

AFFECTIONATELY YOURS was directed by Lloyd Bacon. It was shot in black and white and runs 88 minutes. The costumes, including Oberon's knockout evening gown for the dinner party, were designed by Orry-Kelly.

This movie has not had a video or DVD release, but it can be seen on Turner Classic Movies, which has the trailer available here.


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