Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tonight's Movie: An Angel From Texas (1940)

AN ANGEL FROM TEXAS is a mildly amusing comedy starring several members of the young Warner Bros. stock company of 1940.

The film reunites the cast of BROTHER RAT (1938) and BROTHER RAT AND A BABY (1940), Ronald Reagan, Eddie Albert, Wayne Morris, and Jane Wyman. Priscilla Lane, another BROTHER RAT alum, wasn't available for AN ANGEL FROM TEXAS, so her sister Rosemary Lane joined the gang.

Albert and Lane play two innocents from Texas who become involved with a pair of shyster theatrical producers (Reagan and Morris). Albert invests in the producers' show with the understanding it will star his would-be actress ladylove, Lane. The play's a turkey, but the wife (Wyman) of one of the producers sees potential in the sheer deranged awfulness of the show, and they wind up with a hit comedy.

The plotline with the fast-talking producers talking the gullible Texan out of his money is a fairly tedious yawner, though it picks up steam in the last 20 or 30 minutes. Those who like the cast may want to take a look, but the film is nothing special.

Wyman comes off the best in the cast, waking up the sleepy story with her energetic verve. It's a bit of a curiosity to see Wyman and Reagan playing husband and wife on screen. Reagan and Morris are mostly obnoxious, though Reagan is the more likeable of the two.

I like Rosemary Lane very much, but she doesn't have a great deal to do in this other than smile and look sweet; however, she's convincing and shows a bit of comic flair in her scenes as a very bad actress.

Ruth Terry plays the show's sassy leading lady, who is fired to make way for Lane. Milburn Stone plays Terry's gangster boyfriend. I didn't recognize Stone and was surprised to realize "Pooch" was "Doc" from GUNSMOKE!

John Litel, Hobart Cavanaugh, Ann Shoemaker, Tom Kennedy, and Edward Gargan are also in the cast. My younger daughter noted that Gargan played policemen in a gazillion films, and looking at his IMDb credits, she's right!

The film was based on a play by George S. Kaufman which had already been filmed multiple times, including as THE TENDERFOOT (1932) with Joe E. Brown and Ginger Rogers. It was remade again as THREE SAILORS AND A GIRL (1953) with Jane Powell and Gordon MacRae.

AN ANGEL FROM TEXAS was directed by Ray Enright. The running time is 69 minutes.

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

The trailer is here.

3 Comments:

Blogger Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

John Litel, Hobart Cavanaugh, Ann Shoemaker, Tom Kennedy, and Edward Gargan are also in the cast. My younger daughter noted that Gargan played policemen in a gazillion films, and looking at his IMDb credits, she's right!

And Litel played an attorney in a gazillion movies. Isn't typecasting marvelous? :-)

5:49 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

You're so right! :)

Best wishes,
Laura

10:04 AM  
Blogger panavia999 said...

Gosh, I loved "Angel from Texas"! Reagan and Morris together are fun.

5:23 PM  

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