Sunday, April 27, 2008

Tonight's Movie: Woman Chases Man (1937)

Joel McCrea and Miriam Hopkins costarred in several films in the 1930s, ranging from the heavily dramatic (THESE THREE) to adventure (BARBARY COAST, reviewed here earlier this month) to comedies. WOMAN CHASES MAN falls into the last category, and it's wonderfully diverting fun.

The movie is a spin on the standard Depression-era theme of the crazy rich and their hired help. The plot, about a penniless former millionaire (Charles Winninger), his ultra-sensible millionaire son (Joel McCrea) and the architect (Miriam Hopkins) who breezes into their lives, saving the son from the clutches of a gold-digging woman (Leona Maricle), doesn't really's simply very amusing entertainment.

A young Broderick Crawford plays an unlikely butler, with Ella Logan as his wife, the maid. Logan made only two more movies after this, but she starred on Broadway in the original cast of FINIAN'S RAINBOW in 1947, originating the role of Sharon McLonergan. Just a couple years after Logan's Broadway success, Crawford won the Best Actor Oscar for ALL THE KING'S MEN (1949).

Erik Rhodes, instantly recognized by many film fans from his roles in THE GAY DIVORCEE and TOP HAT, plays Maricle's "uncle" who is really her secret lover.

WOMAN CHASES MAN was directed by John G. Blystone, who had a long career in the silents. It was filmed in black and white and runs a fast-paced 71 minutes.

WOMAN CHASES MAN is not out on VHS or DVD. It can be seen on Turner Classic Movies. (March 2018 Update: This film will be released on DVD by the Warner Archive in April 2018.) (May 2018 Update: My review of the DVD is here.)

Critic Stephen H. Scheuer calls WOMAN CHASES MAN "vastly entertaining" in his 3-star review. I agree, and look forward to watching it again.


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