Friday, November 02, 2007

Tonight's Movie: My Dear Miss Aldrich (1937)

This evening we enjoyed a Friday night double bill, following THE SUNDOWNERS with something completely different: an amusing MGM "B" movie, MY DEAR MISS ALDRICH.

Martha Aldrich (Maureen O'Sullivan), of Lower Platte, Nebraska, unexpectedly inherits a New York City newspaper from her step-uncle. Martha and her aunt (Edna May Oliver) immediately travel to New York, where Martha clashes with the newspaper's editor, Ken (Walter Pidgeon), who doesn't believe in hiring women. Before you know it, Martha is not only scoring exclusives for the paper as its first woman reporter, but she and Ken have fallen in love.

The movie has some sharp dialogue and a sprightly pace, although unfortunately the short running time results in the story being slightly disjointed. Notably, most of Rita Johnson's part seems to have been left on the cutting-room floor; Johnson and O'Sullivan meet at a dinner party, then are inexplicably close friends. A quick shot in the trailer of Johnson pouring tea for O'Sullivan hints at a bit of dropped storyline.

The development of Pidgeon and O'Sullivan's relationship was also sacrificed for too many scenes with Oliver as the puzzle-mad aunt, who is suspicious of everything and everybody in New York City. Oliver is quite amusing at times, but a little of her goes a long way; more of Pidgeon and O'Sullivan would have been welcome. O'Sullivan is one of my favorite actresses, and she's as endearing in this as ever. Pidgeon is always a welcome screen presence.

Despite its weaknesses, the movie is a fun diversion, particularly if one is a fan of MGM in its Golden Era. It was directed by George B. Seitz, who directed many of MGM's Andy Hardy movies. The movie was filmed in black and white and runs 74 minutes. The supporting cast includes Janet Beecher, Guinn Williams, and Leonid Kinskey.

MY DEAR MISS ALDRICH is not available on DVD or video, but can be seen on cable on TCM.


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