Thursday, February 05, 2015

Tonight's Movie: Honeymoon (1947) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

18-year-old Shirley Temple plays 17-year-old bride-to-be Barbara Olmstead in HONEYMOON (1947), just released on DVD by the Warner Archive.

Barbara arrives in Mexico City to marry her soldier boyfriend Phil Vaughn (Guy Madison), who is stationed in the Canal Zone. Phil has three days' leave for a wedding and honeymoon, but the path of true love doesn't run smooth due to Phil's delayed flight, sold-out hotels, difficulty obtaining health certificates, and Barbara's confession that she lied about being already married in order to get a travel visa, since she's underage and doesn't have her parents' consent to marry. A legal document stating she's married proves to be a bit of a problem when she wants to get married for real!

Franchot Tone plays David Flanner, the American vice consul who is repeatedly drawn into attempting to solve Barbara and Phil's problems. Meanwhile David's fiancee Raquel (the lovely Lina Romay) wonders why David is continually missing dates with her to spend time with the beautiful young American girl.

HONEYMOON is the sort of "middle of the road" movie which might not be especially good -- it's not really original, and more frenetic than funny -- yet I nonetheless found it a pleasant way to spent an hour and 14 minutes.

I enjoy watching Shirley in the films she made when she was a young woman, and she's fun as the bright-eyed Barbara, who's a bit of a pain in the neck yet charming enough to make Phil, David, and the audience forgive her. She and handsome Guy Madison are a cute couple.

One of the things that's interesting about the movie is how conceptions of adulthood have changed. Although there's a dust-up about parental consent and the ensuing problems, nonetheless it was considered perfectly proper and normal for a girl of 17 to marry, to the point that several characters find a way to make the marriage possible. Indeed, in real life Shirley Temple had wed John Agar when she was 17.

Now it would be considered something of a scandal if a 17-year-old ran off to a foreign country to wed, and the people who helped her would probably be prosecuted or sued, even if she were marrying a fine young man mature enough to serve in the U.S. army.

I always enjoy spending time with Franchot Tone, and it's a pleasure to see Lina Romay in a large supporting role which also allows her the chance to sing. Romay also had a good part in EMBRACEABLE YOU (1948) the following year. Her first film was one of the my favorite musicals, YOU WERE NEVER LOVELIER (1942), where she sang with Xavier Cugat's orchestra.

Although the movie, which was filmed in black and white by Edward Cronjager, was set in Mexico City, it's clear the actors never leave the backlot. In fact, during a scene where Temple and Tone are riding in a boat, it's a bit distracting in that it's very clearly a pair of doubles in the long shots. That issue has popped up in more than one film of late!

The supporting cast includes Gene Lockhart, Grant Mitchell, Corinna Mura, and Julio Villarreal.

The Warner Archive print is quite nice. There are no extras.

Shirley Temple fans will doubtless want to pick this one up for their collections.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered at the Warner Archive website.


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