Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Tonight's Movie: Blind Date (1934)

BLIND DATE is a most enjoyable Depression-era romance which finds Ann Sothern torn between two suitors.

Hardworking Kitty Taylor (Ann Sothern) supports her parents and two younger siblings. Kitty is engaged to ambitious mechanic Bill (Paul Kelly). After a spat with Bill, Kitty goes on a blind date where she meets and falls for wealthy Bob (Neil Hamilton); Bob is crazy about Kitty, but he makes it quite clear he doesn't have marriage on his mind. Kitty returns to Bill, who truly loves her, but she can't forget her feelings for Bob...

There are a couple nice twists at the end, as each man tries to help Kitty...I'm not convinced Kitty ultimately made the right choice, but at least there's a subtle hint that both men will end up happy in the romance department.

The acting in this film is top-notch. Sothern is excellent as the woman who wishes she could love the worthy man who wants to marry her, but finds herself unable to forget the wealthy cad who swept her off her feet.

The film is stolen by Paul Kelly, whose performance -- aided by a well-scripted part -- goes beyond the cliches one initially expects. He's very touching and proves to be the most admirable character in the film. I've always enjoyed Kelly, in films like I'LL WAIT FOR YOU (1941) and THE ROARING TWENTIES (1939). I was fascinated to learn that he originated the lead roles in the Broadway productions of COMMAND DECISION and THE COUNTRY GIRL; Clark Gable and Bing Crosby played the parts he'd created on film.

I confess I have a bit of trouble with Neil Hamilton as a romantic lead...I just can't help thinking of "Commissioner Gordon" from BATMAN when I hear his voice, and Commissioner Gordon and romance just don't seem to go together! I had the same trouble when I saw him last year in STRANGERS MAY KISS (1931). I suppose that's the peril of being very good at playing such a goofball role; of course, BATMAN was still decades away when Hamilton was playing romantic leads. Other than that distraction, Hamilton gives a good performance in BLIND DATE as a man who's not wholly admirable; he becomes more sympathetic, although I confess I wasn't completely convinced that he had changed by the end.

Joan Gale was effective as Kitty's kid sister, Flora, particularly in her final scenes. Gale's sister, June, married Oscar Levant. June and Joan were part of a family with two sets of performing identical twin sisters.

Jane Darwell and Spencer Charters play Sothern and Gale's parents, and Mickey Rooney is their kid brother.

This film was directed by Roy William Neill. It's a black and white Columbia film which runs 72 minutes.

BLIND DATE isn't available on VHS or DVD, but it will air on Turner Classic Movies on December 2, 2010.

2 Comments:

Blogger Ed South said...

For what it's worth (not much, I'm sure) I'm a huge fan of the 1987 film Blind Date staring Bruce Willis and Kim Basinger and directed by Blake Edwards.

5:27 AM  
Blogger Raquelle said...

My mother taped this one for me a while back and I've seen it. I didn't think it really remarkable and I thought the title didn't suit the movie. However, I did enjoy watching a very young Mickey Rooney on screen!

7:11 AM  

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