Saturday, January 02, 2016

Tonight's Movie: Pillow to Post (1945) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

PILLOW TO POST (1945), which was just released by the Warner Archive, is a delightfully entertaining wartime comedy starring Ida Lupino.

Lupino, usually associated with more dramatic roles, is wonderful as Jean Howard, who decides to do her part for the war effort by going to work as a traveling saleswoman for her father's oil well parts company. After all, the army's got to have gasoline!

Jean fights to make it in a "man's business," but while her initial attempts to land contracts aren't successful, she's determined not to give up. While on the road trying to land a major contract, she can't find a hotel room for miles...except for one in a cute little auto court which only rents to military officers and their wives.

Jean persuades a handsome young lieutenant (William Prince) she's never met before to check in with her so she can rent the room, intending for him to then move on while she gets a good night's rest.

Of course, nothing goes as planned, with the lieutenant's commanding officer (Sydney Greenstreet) and his mother (Regina Wallace) both arriving at awkward moments. Chaos ensues, leading to a predictably pleasing ending for Jean and her lieutenant.

I first saw this film in 2007, and if anything my appreciation for it has only grown since that first viewing. It's a comedy which fires on all cylinders, with plenty of laughs; it might be rather familiar, with shades of IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) and THE MORE THE MERRIER (1943), but in the most pleasant kind of way. After all, who wouldn't want to check in at a cozy auto court where you can find the likes of Ruth Donnelly, Stuart Erwin, and Barbara Brown?

The only part of the film which might not have aged well is Willie Best's role as the auto court's porter, which at times seems stereotypical from today's vantage point; at the same time, he's a funny man, responsible for some great chuckles.

On the plus side, the movie takes a time out for a visit to a roadhouse where the entertainment is provided by Louis Armstrong and Dorothy Dandridge, which only makes the movie that much better!

The cast also includes familiar faces such as Bobby Blake, Grady Sutton, Joyce Compton, and William Conrad. "Slim" is played by Johnny Mitchell, whose film career was winding down; sadly, he died young in 1951.

PILLOW TO POST was directed by Vincent Sherman. The screenplay by Charles Hoffman was based on a play by Rose Simon Kohn. The film was shot in black and white by Wesley Anderson. It runs 92 minutes.

There are a couple of scenes on the Warner Archive DVD which are on the dark side, but for the most part it's a pleasing print with no major scratches or defects. The trailer is included.

PILLOW TO POST is recommended as a most enjoyable '40s romantic comedy.

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 from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.


Blogger Caftan Woman said...

And my list of what to watch in 2016 begins!

2:19 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I think you'll like it -- let me know! :)

Happy New Year,

3:26 PM  
Blogger KC said...

Yes to all of this. I thought it was a cute movie, and I really would have liked to have seen Lupino in more comedies.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

So glad you enjoyed it too, KC! One of those movies that just makes you feel good to spend time with it! Ida was great fun. :)

Thanks for adding your endorsement!

Best wishes,

7:42 PM  

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