Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tonight's Movie: No Time For Love (1943)

NO TIME FOR LOVE is a terrific romantic comedy starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray.

This film has it all: marvelous comedy, great actors, a brisk pace (clocking in at 83 minutes), and a witty and creative script. The plot, which finds upper-class magazine photographer Colbert meeting working-class ditch digger MacMurray while on a photo assignment, is interesting and even exciting as it depicts work on an underground tunnel -- and the love-hate clashes between the lead characters.

Colbert and MacMurray, who costarred in several films during their lengthy careers, are a wonderful team in this film. Their chemistry is electric. Colbert is at her best, tossing off witty lines and looking great in gowns by Irene. (Here's more on Irene's work on the film; Edith Head also contributed designs.) MacMurray is quite the hunky heartthrob in this one -- who knew?!

Colbert and MacMurray receive great support from Ilka Chase and Richard Haydn. Chase plays Colbert's practical sister, while Haydn is a prissy pianist friend of Colbert's who adds a great deal of humor to the proceedings. June Havoc, Rhys Williams, Lillian Randolph, and Paul McGrath round out the cast. According to IMDb, Woody Strode and Alan Hale Jr. have bit parts, but I didn't pick them out in this viewing.

The film includes a very different Dali-esque dream sequence in which MacMurray appears as Superman -- apparently the first time Superman was seen on the big screen. The scene looks far different from anything else I can remember seeing on film.

The creative opening credits sequence is also deserving of mention, as the credits appear on sheets of paper Colbert is developing in her darkroom.

This black and white film was directed by Mitchell Leisen, who was a frequent collaborator of both MacMurray and Colbert. Leisen's films with MacMurray include HANDS ACROSS THE TABLE (1935), REMEMBER THE NIGHT (1940), and TAKE A LETTER, DARLING (1942). Leisen and Colbert's joint films include the classic MIDNIGHT (1939).

NO TIME FOR LOVE does not appear to have been released on video or DVD in the U.S., although it has had a Region 2 DVD release. It was recently shown on Turner Classic Movies, but since it's a Paramount film it's uncertain how soon they'll show it again.

Moira Finnie, in an excellent piece on the movie last month, writes: "...this movie manages to juggle all of its comedic and romantic screwballs in the air throughout the brisk proceedings without dropping a one."

I heartily concur with Moira's opinion. Highly recommended.

Update: NO TIME FOR LOVE is now available on DVD in the Claudette Colbert Collection. It's also been released as a single-title DVD in the Universal Vault Series.

May 2021 Update: NO TIME FOR LOVE will be released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber in August 2021.

August 2021 Update: My review of the Kino Lorber Blu-ray may be found here.


Blogger NoirGirl said...

I was enamored with those opening credits, too! I thought it was such an ingenious way to show them. I took a film photography class last semester, so I instantly connected with that idea. While I watched it, I started trying to figure out how they made it work. :)

Thanks so much for posting that link to the Irene information. It's terribly thrilling for a seamstress like me!

One more thought - I actually didn't like Fred MacMurray in this film. He is really, awfully mean and unapologetic in his intentionally offensive behavior all through the film. I was quite surprised, actually. One of the reasons I love the classic films is to watch the way women are treated with such respect and delicacy. It was a shock to see Fred MacMurray acting so mean. Anyway, that's my two cents. :)

8:19 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Happy Housewife said...

Saw this on TCM with my kids. We really liked it.

5:51 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

So glad you enjoyed it too, Mrs. HH!

Best wishes,

8:59 AM  

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