Sunday, June 17, 2018

Tonight's Movie: Every Girl Should Be Married (1948) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

A top cast stars in EVERY GIRL SHOULD BE MARRIED (1948) available on DVD from the Warner Archive.

Cary Grant plays Dr. Madison Brown, who attracts the notice of a (very) marriage-minded young lady, Anabel Sims (Betsy Drake). Anabel dreams of her own home with a husband and children, and she believes that women should have as much opportunity as men to pursue relationships. Charmed by the news that he's a pediatrician who thus must love children, Anabel forms plans to snag Dr. Brown with single-minded intensity.

As part of the plan, Anabel decides that Dr. Brown needs to think another man is interested in her, and through a series of circumstances that man turns out to be the oft-married Roger Sanford (Franchot Tone), an old college friend of the doctor's who happens to own the department store where Anabel works.

Dr. Brown is seemingly on to Anabel's every move; initially perplexed and frustrated by her intensity, he ultimately finds he can't quite help himself when it comes to falling for her.

The always-enjoyable Diana Lynn plays Anabel's friend and partner in crime who assists her myriad schemes to land the doctor, and Eddie Albert has an amusing uncredited role as a radio actor posing as Anabel's boyfriend from "back home."

These days we'd probably call the never-say-die Anabel a stalker! I veered between feeling embarrassed for her and admiring her determination to achieve her goals, which seems to be pretty much how Dr. Brown feels for much of the movie as well.

Rather interesting to me was that Anabel seemed to be a forerunner for Maggie MacNamara's character in THE MOON IS BLUE (1953). THE MOON IS BLUE originated as a 1951 Broadway play, and I couldn't help wondering if playwright F. Hugh Herbert took any inspiration from this movie; the stories have in common a very talkative and determined leading lady, a befuddled leading man who doesn't know what hit him, and an urbane bachelor "third wheel."

Rather amusingly, exactly one year after this film was released, Drake married Grant; they were married over a dozen years and also costarred in the very good family comedy ROOM FOR ONE MORE (1952), which was shown on TV as THE EASY WAY when I was growing up. EVERY GIRL SHOULD BE MARRIED is one of a small number of Grant films I'd never seen, and I was glad to finally check it off my list.

Despite finding Anabel exhausting at times, on the whole this is a cheerful and well-made movie, with interesting little touches such as the action under the opening credits and end title. It has a bright soundtrack score and crisp photography of an attractive cast by George E. Diskant (ON DANGEROUS GROUND), and it knows when to quit at the 85-minute mark.

In the end much of the movie's appeal boils down to: Who could possibly not enjoy a romantic comedy with Cary Grant and Franchot Tone as the male leads?

The film was directed and cowritten by Don Hartman (HOLIDAY AFFAIR), who sadly would die a decade later at the age of 57.

The supporting cast includes Elisabeth Risdon, Alan Mowbray, Chick Chandler, and Richard Gaines. Anne Nagel, the leading lady of '30s Dick Foran Westerns, has a brief scene as a mother attending Dr. Brown's lecture. Look for James Griffith as an insurance salesman who tries to give Annabel a car (it's a long story). The minister is played by Selmer Jackson.

This is an early Warner Archive release which, like all WAC releases, continues to be manufactured "on demand." Other than a couple minor flaws the DVD picture looks great, and the disc has a strong soundtrack. There are no extras.

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 or from any online retailers where DVDs and Blu-rays are sold.

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