Saturday, January 19, 2019

Tonight's Movie: Her Kind of Man (1946) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

A nice cast stars in the Warner Bros. melodrama HER KIND OF MAN (1946), recently released on DVD by the Warner Archive.

I first saw this film back in 2010. I liked it well enough then, though my reaction was somewhat muted; it grew on me more with this second viewing. I think knowing what I was going to get at the outset tempered expectations, and I simply relaxed to enjoy my time with the cast, not to mention the familiar Warner Bros. backlot. The theater and hotel seen in the background in a couple different scenes are still there today, over 70 years later!

Janis Paige plays Georgia King, who none too wisely loves Steve Maddux (Zachary Scott). Steve is a lazy gambler, which concerns his sister Ruby (Faye Emerson) and her husband Joe (George Tobias); Steve thinks he's smart enough to have it all the easy way. Other than loving Georgia, the truth is that Steve makes one dumb decision after another, culminating in accidentally shooting one of the few people who really loves him.

Georgia is also courted by Broadway columnist Don Corwin (Dane Clark), who backs out of the way when she decides to marry Steve.

The script zigs and zags, not always providing logical motivations or answers to questions such as: Why does Steve's bodyguard Candy (Harry Lewis) stick with him despite the constant abuse? (There's something really odd in that does build to a fitting ending.) Why does smooth-talking Steve completely flip out when the police raid his gambling joint, to the point he wields a gun in a no-win situation? Why isn't Georgia outraged when Steve kills someone near the end? Why doesn't the end of the movie circle back to the flashback which opens the film? And so on.

And yet...well, it's just fun spending time with this cast. Paige (who turned 96 last fall) brings her usual energy to the role, although I wondered if some of her soprano singing was dubbed, as it didn't sound like her usual singing voice. Scott is always good as a heel, and Clark is likeable, though his character is somewhat ineffectual.

Tobias, who was also in the last Warner Bros. film I saw, WINGS FOR THE EAGLE (1942), demonstrates his versatility between the two films; thanks to makeup, he appeared much older in the earlier film. I especially like his happily married relationship with the more glamorous Emerson in this film, though I wished they both had more to do. Emerson is underutilized here but makes her moments count.

Look for John Dehner, seen a few days ago in THE GIRL IN BLACK STOCKINGS (1957), in an early bit role; he's wearing a tuxedo and seated next to Dane Clark in a nightclub scene.

Sheldon Leonard, seen last week as the villain in FRONTIER GAL (1945), also turns up in this movie as someone who meets an unfortunate end early on in the film. I love the way actors criss-cross the casts of my viewing, spread over years and studios; I can almost always count on seeing at least one actor more than once in a week's movie watching!

HER KIND OF MAN was directed by Frederick De Cordova. It was filmed in black and white by Carl E. Guthrie. The musical score is by Franz Waxman. The film utilizes a few standards in the background, including "It Had to Be You." The movie runs 78 minutes.

The Warner Archive DVD is a good print. There seemed to be some sort of background echo in a few scenes but otherwise the soundtrack was fine. There are no extras.

HER KIND OF MAN may be imperfect, but it's also stylish and entertaining, with a pleasant sort of familiarity in every frame. Those who like the cast or Warner Bros. films of the '40s will probably enjoy it, as I did.

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.


Blogger Jerry Entract said...

Hi Laura!
Interesting that John Dehner turns up in a bit part. That same year he had a substantial role over at Republic, knocking heads with star Monte Hale in Hale's first starring film, "OUT CALIFORNIA WAY", about B-western film-making. Dehner plays an insecure star who resents easy-going cowboy Hale's presence on the lot and will go to any ends to retain his own position at the studio. Early days for Dehner and his great days as a leading character actor were some years away.

12:34 AM  
Blogger Jerry Entract said...

Oops, "OUT CALIFORNIA WAY" was actually Hale's 3rd starrer.

9:06 AM  
Blogger KC said...

Yep, with you on this assessment. I felt giddy over that cast. Ms. Janis was especially charming. It was lots of fun to see these three in the spotlight. As long as you don't think too much about what's happening or why, it's fun.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Jerry and KC!

Jerry, I need to see OUT CALIFORNIA WAY, that sounds fun. (I'm curious to check out Hale's work since he cofounded The Autry museum with Gene Autry!) Thanks for that description!

Love your description, KC! Agree completely.

For those who might like to read more on the movie, KC's review can be found here.

Thanks to you both!

Best wishes,

10:09 AM  

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