Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tonight's Movie: This Time for Keeps (1942)

THIS TIME FOR KEEPS is an MGM "B" movie very much in the vein of the ANDY HARDY films. (Even the opening credits have the homespun "Hardy" look.) It tells the tale of the Bryants (Guy Kibbee and Irene Rich), whose oldest daughter Kit (Ann Rutherford) has recently married Lee (Robert Sterling). Kit's sisters are pretty Edith (Dorothy Morris) and tomboy Harriett (Virginia Weidler).

Kit and Lee face marital discord when Lee goes to work for Kit's father, who is a nice man but has trouble allowing Lee to complete deals independently. Kit and Lee's story is juxtaposed with little sister Harriett's ongoing escapades. The movie is nothing special, but the cast is quite pleasant and it's a nice way to pass the time.

This movie was a sequel of sorts to the 1940 film KEEPING COMPANY; Herman J. Mankiewicz, who wrote the story for KEEPING COMPANY, receives credit for creating the characters in THIS TIME FOR KEEPS. Ann Rutherford, Irene Rich, and Virginia Weidler appear in both films, although Rutherford's character is named Mary in the first film and Kit in the second. The middle sister is called Evelyn in the first movie and was played by Gloria DeHaven; the second time around, she's named Edith, played by lovely Dorothy Morris. Frank Morgan and John Shelton played Rutherford's father and husband in KEEPING COMPANY, again with different character names.

The possible series never took off, ending with THIS TIME FOR KEEPS. It's rather a shame there weren't any further films, as the cast had real potential. Sterling only made one more film at MGM before leaving for service in WWII. Rutherford, who played Polly in the Andy Hardy films, would soon move to 20th Century-Fox, where her films included ORCHESTRA WIVES (1942) and HAPPY LAND (1943).

Irene Rich looks rather like Fay Holden from the Hardy series. Rich is a character actress I especially like; she was memorable in ANGEL AND THE BADMAN (1947) and FORT APACHE (1948). Earlier this year I saw a younger Rich in STRANGERS MAY KISS (1931).

There's a great little moment when Lee (Sterling) visits a drive-in restaurant early in the movie. He trades glances with the gorgeous girl in the next car -- it's Ava Gardner, in one of the many bit roles she played at MGM in the early '40s.

THIS TIME FOR KEEPS was directed by Charles Reisner. It was shot in black and white and runs 73 minutes. The supporting cast includes Henry O'Neill and Connie Gilchrist.

As a side note, this movie has no relationship to the 1947 Esther Williams film of the same name. The 1942 film has been shown on TV under the alternate title OVER THE WAVES.

This movie has not had a DVD or video release, but it can be seen on Turner Classic Movies. The trailer can be seen here. As with many MGM movies, the trailer provides a peek at a scene which didn't make the final edit.


Blogger NoirGirl said...

Hi Laura! I agree with your disappointment about this film not making it as a series. Robert Sterling is one of my favorites, and I would have loved to see him in a continuing series with Ann Rutherford. They make a great couple!

5:12 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I agree, Casey, they were a very cute couple. I've seen Sterling in 3 or 4 movies recently and really enjoyed him in all of them.

Thanks for your note!

Best wishes,

12:36 PM  

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