Monday, July 04, 2016

Tonight's Movie: Remember? (1939) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Robert Taylor and Greer Garson star in REMEMBER? (1939), a lightweight romantic comedy available from the Warner Archive.

Sky (Lew Ayres) returns from vacation with a fiancee, Linda (Greer Garson) -- who promptly elopes with Sky's best friend Jeff (Taylor).

Linda and Jeff bicker almost from the start and are soon in divorce court. Sky, reconciled to Jeff and Linda's marriage, decides to slip them each some of a new drug which erases from their minds everything which has happened in the last six months. Like GROUNDHOG DAY (1993), Sky, Jeff, and Linda begin to replay everything which happened previously. But will the outcome this time be a happily ever after for Jeff and Linda?

This movie is mildly amusing, but neither Garson or Taylor are shown in the best light. Their characters start out by sneaking around on Sky from the start of the movie, and they're not really all that likeable, with thoughtless behavior a particular problem for Taylor's character. The couple don't have particularly good chemistry here, including the fact that it's apparent Garson is several years older than her leading man. She actually seems a better match for Ayres as her original fiance.

That said, a couple of things make the movie worth seeing. Billie Burke, as Linda's mother, plays her fluttery matron to perfection; her bewilderment when the mind-swiped Linda brings her ex-husband to dinner is laugh-out-loud funny. I think the movie was worth seeing just for that moment.

There's also a mystifying announcement from Linda at the end of the film. I'm still trying to figure out what it meant. Had Linda not lost her memory at all?

Garson was just coming off her star-making, Oscar-nominated appearance in GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS (1939), when she made REMEMBER? She would soon be starring in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1940), on her way to mega-stardom and more Oscar nominations. She would also make another film with Taylor, WHEN LADIES MEET (1941). REMEMBER? was an atypically weak film for both actors.

The supporting cast includes Henry Travers, Reginald Owen, Laura Hope Crews, Sara Haden, Sig Ruman, Halliwell Hobbes, Paul Hurst and George Barbier. Nell Craig, Nurse Parker of the Dr. Kildare series, can be spotted in a wordless role as a secretary.

REMEMBER? was directed by Norman Z. McLeod for MGM. It was filmed in black and white by George Folsey and the uncredited Ray June. The running time is 83 minutes.

The Archive DVD print looks good. The DVD includes the trailer.

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 barrylane said...

I thought Remember a sensual idea, not that the filmmakers made it happen, but something to revisit.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

It had the beginnings of a good idea, if only a scriptwriter could have reworked it! :)

Best wishes,

4:34 PM  

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