Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tonight's Movie: Hold That Kiss (1938)

HOLD THAT KISS is a cute little MGM programmer about a working-class couple who each believe the other is a wealthy member of high society.

Tom Bradford (Dennis O'Keefe) is a travel agency clerk who meets June Evans (Maureen O'Sullivan) at a high society wedding. Each thinks the other is a member of the jet set, when in reality each was making a delivery for the bride (Ruth Hussey, who has a single scene).

Tom and June fall in love while managing to keep up pretenses, but their secrets finally come to a head at an awkward family dinner staged at the lovely apartment of June's aunt (Jessie Ralph).

A subplot involving June's brother Steve (Frank Albertson), a loser who constantly gambles away the family's money and possessions, is tiresome, but otherwise it's a reasonably entertaining film with a pleasant cast.

One of the cute touches in the film is that June's brother Ted (Phillip Terry) works at a movie theater where the ushers wear uniforms themed for the current movie. Thanks to the uniforms, Ted and Steve show up for dinner with Tom and June dressed as a doctor and a Navy man; in the case of the latter outfit, MGM's NAVY BLUE AND GOLD was on the theater schedule!

Dennis O'Keefe had a long career of over 250 credits, beginning in 1930. Later known for film noir titles such as T-MEN (1947), RAW DEAL (1948), and WALK A CROOKED MILE (1948), he's passable here as the young leading man, although nothing about him particularly stands out.

O'Sullivan spent a decade at MGM alternating between "A" and "B" pictures. She was always charming, and her hairstyle in this picture makes her the spitting image of Vivien Leigh.

O'Sullivan's mother is played by Fay Holden of the ANDY HARDY series, and her clarinet-playing younger brother is played by Andy Hardy himself, Mickey Rooney. Rooney had also played O'Sullivan's little brother in HIDE-OUT (1934).

George Barbier has a few scenes as Ruth Hussey's wealthy father, and Edward Brophy is O'Keefe's roommate.

HOLD THAT KISS was directed by Edwin L. Marin. It runs 79 minutes.

HOLD THAT KISS is not available on VHS or DVD, but it's been shown on Turner Classic Movies.


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