Monday, January 01, 2007

Tonight's Movie: Four's a Crowd (1938)

1938 saw the release of one of the great movies of the Golden Era, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD. Later that same year, ROBIN HOOD stars Errol Flynn, Olivia DeHavilland, and Patric Knowles reunited with director Michael Curtiz to make FOUR'S A CROWD.

FOUR'S A CROWD is a confusing mishmash regarding a public relations man (Flynn), a giggly heiress (DeHavilland), a newspaper owner (Knowles), and a reporter (Rosalind Russell). DeHavilland's rich grandfather, who is preoccupied with model trains, is played by Walter Connolly, with ROBIN HOOD's Melville Cooper as his butler.

The film is an attempt at screwball comedy which is unfortunately a little more screwball than comedy, despite the excellent cast. The plot is initially rather difficult to follow, and it doesn't get much easier as it goes on, with the four leads constantly changing their minds about who each of them loves. The confusion kept up right till the ending, which didn't turn out exactly the way I expected a Flynn-DeHavilland romantic comedy would end.

I love the actors and the genre, but this wasn't one of the better efforts of anyone in the cast.

Cast trivia: Carole Landis has a bit part as Flynn's secretary; she would later appear in some wonderful movies at 20th Century-Fox, such as MOON OVER MIAMI and ORCHESTRA WIVES, both reviewed here in July 2006.

Lana Turner is also listed as having a bit part, but I didn't pick her out.

FOUR'S A CROWD is part of the Turner Classic Movies library. It doesn't appear to be available on either video or DVD. The film runs 91 or 92 minutes, depending on the reference source, and was filmed in black and white. (Update: This film is now available on DVD from the Warner Archive.)

A trailer can be viewed here.


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