Saturday, January 05, 2008

Tonight's Movie: Fast Company (1938)

FAST COMPANY was the first of MGM's short-lived three-film series about rare book dealers and amateur sleuths Joel and Garda Sloan.

The films are somewhat unique in that three different sets of actors portrayed Joel and Garda in a 15-month period. The history of the Sloans is covered in more detail in my post on the last film in the series, FAST AND FURIOUS, which starred Franchot Tone and Ann Sothern. You can read about the second film, FAST AND LOOSE, here; FAST AND LOOSE starred Robert Montgomery and Rosalind Russell as the Sloans.

In this original entry in the series, Melvyn Douglas and Florence Rice play Joel and Garda. Douglas and Rice are charming as the loving, quick-witted couple. The script has witty dialogue and the 75-minute film keeps up a fast pace. It's enjoyable entertainment, as are the other films in the series.

The lovely Rice made 47 films in roughly a ten-year period, yet never became a major name. Her films FOUR GIRLS IN WHITE and DOUBLE WEDDING were previously reviewed here.

The supporting cast includes Claire Dodd (who has an interesting bio at IMDb), Mary Howard, Shepperd Strudwick, and Louis Calhern.

FAST COMPANY was directed by Edward Buzzell. Buzzell's best-known films include BEST FOOT FORWARD, EASY TO WED, NEPTUNE'S DAUGHTER (one of Esther Williams' best movies), and a couple of Marx Bros. titles.

This movie can be seen on TCM, which also has the trailer available for online viewing.

April 2013 Update: The three Sloan movies are now available as a triple feature DVD from the Warner Archive.


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