Monday, November 11, 2013

Tonight's Movie: The Go Getter (1937)

THE GO GETTER, starring George Brent and Anita Louise, is half of a charming movie. At times it's an absolute delight, while at other points it's nothing less than exasperating.

THE GO GETTER was written by future director Delmer Daves from a story by Peter Kyne, and it was directed by Busby Berkeley. Lest anyone wonder, there's not a single musical number in the movie!

The movie starts out in exciting fashion with the crash of a U.S. Navy dirigible. Bill Austin (Brent) survives but loses part of a leg. Bill has an indomitable spirit, however, and inspired by his commanding officer's motto "It shall be done," he determines to move on with his life.

Bill finagles a job selling lumber for Cappy Ricks (Charles Winninger), and in no time at all becomes a top salesman. He also wins the love of Cappy's lovely daughter Margaret (Louise).

Cappy gets cold feet at the idea of losing his beloved daughter to marriage, and at this point the film goes off the rails as Cappy suddenly turns on Bill, putting him through a near-impossible test of determination and loyalty. Bill passes with flying colors but even then Cappy doesn't see reason and continues to make life difficult for Bill and Margaret.

This 92-minute film could have been shortened by 10 or 15 minutes if the torturous sequence involving Bill trying to purchase and deliver a hard-to-get blue vase had been eliminated from the film. It went on so long I actually scanned a bit on fast forward because it was so repetitive; I could see exactly what was happening without needing to listen to the dialogue!

The first part of the movie was so good, it's a shame so much of the film's charm peters out midway through. Cappy's sudden determination to keep his daughter an old maid makes no sense whatsoever, especially when her prospective husband is a man of Bill's caliber.

Brent is enormously appealing as Bill, whose sincerity and can-do spirit wins Margaret's love almost immediately. Anita Louise is a delight. I especially liked the direct way Bill and Margaret discuss their feelings for one another. ("Do you like me the way I like you?" "More!") The movie is very much worth seeing for Brent and Louise; if only the story had been taken in a more believable direction in the film's second half, it would have been a total winner, and it probably would be better known today.

The supporting cast includes John Eldredge and Henry O'Neill. There are lots of great faces in small roles, including Ann Doran as a maid, Charles Coleman as a butler, and George Chandler as a printer.

The movie was filmed in black and white by Arthur Edeson.

THE GO GETTER isn't available on DVD or VHS, but it will be shown on Turner Classic Movies this Tuesday, November 12th, 2013.


Blogger barrylane said...

The Cappy Ricks character appears in several of Peter B. Kyne's novel and was used as a jumping off point in film from 1921. Walter Brennan played the part in 1937. First version of The Go-Getter was produced in the mid-early 20's.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks very much for all of that interesting background info!

Best wishes,

12:24 AM  

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