Sunday, March 08, 2009

Tonight's Movie: My Love Came Back (1940)

I've been catching up on some Olivia DeHavilland titles over the last couple weeks. Having recently watched her in GOLD IS WHERE YOU FIND IT (1938) and IN THIS OUR LIFE (1942), tonight's movie was the light comedy MY LOVE CAME BACK.

DeHavilland stars in the film as Amelia, a young violinist attending a music academy on a scholarship. The academy's new president (Charles Winninger) takes a personal interest in Amelia's education, anonymously increasing her scholarship and squiring her around town to various concerts. Although it's all very innocent on her part -- perhaps not quite so much on his -- various people get the wrong impression of their relationship, including Winninger's employee Tony (Jeffrey Lynn), who is attracted to Amelia.

The first half of the film moves a bit slowly, and the multiple misunderstandings grow tiresome. However, the movie gears up to a strong second half, helped in part by its excellent supporting cast, including Jane Wyman, Eddie Albert, and Spring Byington. I also enjoy Jeffrey Lynn, from the FOUR DAUGHTERS series.

It's fun watching DeHavilland and Wyman -- two future Oscar-winning actresses -- play roommates. DeHavilland is exquisitely lovely in this, and Wyman was still in the "dizzy blonde" phase of her career. The two actresses also costarred in the excellent 1943 comedy PRINCESS O'ROURKE, reviewed here.

The cast also includes S.Z. Sakall, Grant Mitchell, Ann Gillis (Becky Thatcher in Selznick's 1938 production of THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER), and William Orr, who later married Jack Warner's stepdaughter, actress Joy Page, and had a long career producing TV shows such as MAVERICK.

If you don't blink, you can see Mary Anderson in a dance scene. Anderson played Maybelle Merriwether in GONE WITH THE WIND and had roles in many good films including CHEERS FOR MISS BISHOP, THE SONG OF BERNADETTE, LIFEBOAT, and WILSON. Anderson was married to Oscar-winning cinematographer Leon Shamroy, whose credits include THE BLACK SWAN and LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN, two of the all-time great examples of '40s Technicolor photography.

My husband, as a musician, was impressed with DeHavilland's "faking" of violin playing. If IMDb is accurate, this was done through some ingenious trickery: in closeups DeHavilland was only controlling the bow, while someone hidden out of sight was doing the fingering.

MY LOVE CAME BACK was directed by Curtis Bernhardt. It was shot in black and white and runs 85 minutes.

This film has not had a video or DVD release, but it can be seen periodically on Turner Classic Movies.

The trailer can be viewed here.

February 2011 Update: This film is now available on DVD-R from the Warner Archive.


Blogger Tom said...

Thanks for posting this. I want to see this one! :)

9:30 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I hope you get to enjoy it soon, Tom!

Best wishes,

9:59 PM  
Blogger Glen said...

Hello again, Laura. Since you mentioned in this review about harboring some affection for Jeffrey Lynn I wanted to comment on him. I admit that for many years I was not a fan of his, finding him much too blandly anonymous in most of the WB films he was in. The first movie I saw him in was THE ROARING TWENTIES and next to the rest of that stellar cast, Lynn really stuck out as a weak and ineffectual supporting player. However, many years later I happened to catch a later film of his from 1957 entitled LOST LAGOON and I was amazed at how good he was. This begs the question: Had he matured as an actor and found more command of his talent or had his early roles not been challenging enough to show him off? Regardless, LOST LAGOON is a wonderful film and if you haven't seen it I highly recommend it for what I believe is Lynn's finest hour. One caveat though: There is something about the film I absolutely despise, but I can't say what until I know you've seen it as it would involve a major SPOILER. It nearly sinks the entire movie, but I just grin and bear it. It was released on a MGM LIMITED EDITION MOD DVD-R in a nice transfer, but it should have been letterboxed 1:66 or 1:85 and is instead full frame. However, I don't think there will be any other opportunity to see it in the near future besides the DVD-R release. Thanks as always for your wonderful reviews! --GLEN

5:02 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Glen!

Please forgive the slight delay in responding, I was having quite a "week" workwise over the last few days! I really enjoyed your note. LOST LAGOON is a film I'm not familiar with at all. I see it's available for streaming with Amazon Prime and just added it to my watch list thanks to you. I love exploring relatively unknown films, so both the movie and Jeffrey Lynn will be very much enjoyed, I'm sure. (And glad to know there's an issue with it in advance.)

Thanks again very much!

Best wishes,

10:08 AM  
Blogger Glen said...

Hi Laura! Great to get your response and I am really hoping you too enjoy LOST LAGOON when you get a chance to see it. As for the problem I have with it, it is not minor, but as I said, I try not to let it ruin the rest of the movie for me. I don't know how we can discuss that aspect though via this space because it would still risk a major spoiler for anyone who hasn't seen it and reads our little conversation here. Anyway, I look forward to your reaction and hope you can catch it before Amazon Prime decides to drop it (one of the most frustrating things about streaming is the arbitrary availability). Here's to your work situation easing up! --GLEN

6:03 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I agree, it can be disconcerting keeping up with the way movies come and go from streaming; I've got the title on a Post-it on my desk, hoping to see it sooner rather than later.

Thanks, Glen!

Best wishes,

11:19 PM  

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