Friday, August 21, 2009

Tonight's Movie: Wise Girl (1937)

WISE GIRL is a brisk 71-minute RKO comedy which finds wealthy Miriam Hopkins moving into a bohemian Greenwich Village community in order to track down her late sister's children. The children are living with their paternal uncle, starving artist Ray Milland. This being a '30s comedy, once Hopkins and Milland meet can love be far behind?

It's not an especially great movie, but it has a number of things going for it, including the usual excellent RKO production values. Hopkins' mansion and the Greenwich Village apartment building are each beautiful to look at; the apartment building, centered around a courtyard, is particularly interesting.

Hopkins and Milland play their roles with verve; Hopkins has a particularly amusing bathtub scene and another very funny scene acting in a department store window "commercial" of sorts. The young and handsome Milland has a good scene selling vacuum cleaners door to door.

The leads are ably supported by Henry Stephenson, Guinn "Big Boy" Williams, Walter Abel, Margaret Dumont, and Leonid Kinskey. This was the only film credit for Betty Philson and Marianna Strelby, who play Hopkins and Milland's nieces.

WISE GIRL was directed by Leigh Jason. It was filmed in black and white by J. Peverell Marley, who at one time was married to Linda Darnell. Among his many credits are MOON OVER MIAMI (1941) and PRIDE OF THE MARINES (1945).

WISE GIRL can be seen on Turner Classic Movies, where it was recently shown on Miriam Hopkins Day in the annual Summer Under the Stars festival. It has not had a video or DVD release.


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