Friday, November 21, 2008

Tonight's Movie: Three Loves Has Nancy (1938)

Sweet country girl Nancy (Janet Gaynor) is left at the altar by George, whom she's known since childhood.

Nancy goes looking for George in the big city, and this being MGM movie land, she ends up at the New York City apartments of writer Malcolm Niles (Robert Montgomery) and his publisher and next-door neighbor, Robert Hanson (Franchot Tone). How lucky can a girl get? Before you know it, Nancy is cooking for Bob, inspiring a serial by Mal about the adventures of a country girl, and turning both men's lives inside out.

I found this movie terrific fun. Montgomery and Tone make excellent sidekicks, with wonderful repartee. (Two years previously they costarred in NO MORE LADIES, reviewed here.) Gaynor overdoes the hyper country bumpkin at the outset of the film, but as soon as Nancy puts on an apron and whips up breakfast, the movie starts firing on all cylinders. The interplay between the three leads is delightful; I watched most of the film with a smile on my face.

This is MGM '30s escapism at its best, including marvelous art direction by Cedric Gibbons; the Art Deco bar, kitchens, terrace and other sets are worth watching the movie in and of themselves.

The excellent supporting cast includes Claire Dodd, Charley Grapewin, Grady Sutton, Charles Lane, Guy Kibbee, and most notably Reginald Owen as Montgomery's butler.

Janet Gaynor met MGM's great fashion designer Adrian when he designed her costumes for this film. She retired from the screen shortly thereafter; she and Adrian married and had a son. They were married for 2 decades, until Adrian's death in 1959. A few years later Gaynor embarked on another two-decade marriage, to producer Paul Gregory -- the man who gave James Garner his acting start with a nonspeaking role on Broadway in THE CAINE MUTINY COURT MARTIAL.

There's a perceptive review of THREE LOVES HAS NANCY posted at Obscure Classics.

THREE LOVES HAS NANCY was shot in black and white. It runs 69 minutes. The film was directed by Richard Thorpe, who had directed Montgomery in his Oscar-nominated performance in NIGHT MUST FALL the previous year. Thorpe and Montgomery teamed on other titles including THE EARL OF CHICAGO, RAGE IN HEAVEN, and a Montgomery film I'm especially anxious to see, BUSMAN'S HOLIDAY (correction: BUSMAN'S HONEYMOON, aka HAUNTED HONEYMOON), in which Montgomery plays Lord Peter Wimsey.

THREE LOVES HAS NANCY isn't available on DVD or VHS. Click here to register interest in a DVD release.

This film can be seen on Turner Classic Movies. The trailer can be seen here.

April 2012 Update: I'm happy to report that THREE LOVES HAS NANCY is now available on DVD-R from the Warner Archive.


Blogger Terri said...

I love Lord Peter! I will have to look for Busman's Holiday!

2:24 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Wouldn't that be fun? I saw a bit of it on YouTube, and it looks positively scrumptious if you're a Wimsey or Montgomery fan. :)

I got the title a bit's BUSMAN'S HONEYMOON, not HOLIDAY. It's also shown as HAUNTED HONEYMOON.

Best wishes,

2:32 PM  

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