Sunday, May 06, 2018

Tonight's Movie: The Gay Bride (1934) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

The Warner Archive has released a number of interesting titles recently, one being THE GAY BRIDE (1934), starring Carole Lombard and Chester Morris.

Given my liking for the two leads, it's hard for me to believe I hadn't yet seen a movie in which they costarred! The film turned out to be a rather goofy mishmash which veered from comedy to melodrama, but on the whole I enjoyed it.

Lombard plays Mary, a chorus girl who's tired of being hungry, so she decides to marry mobster Shoots (Nat Pendleton) for his money. (As it turns out, he doesn't have any, but that's another story.) Shoots assigns his bodyguard, "Office Boy" (Morris), to protect Mary.

Before long Shoots is rubbed out by one of his lieutenants, Dingle (Sam Hardy), who also lays claim to Mary...and eventually another mobster, Mickey (Leo Carrillo), wants to marry her as well. By this point, although Mary would still like to eat steadily, she wants to untangle herself from the mobsters and marry Office Boy, who plans to open a garage.

That plot description really doesn't do it full justice, with a rather bizarre premise as Mary is passed from mobster to mobster...but it's all on the up and up, at least they each want to marry her! Meanwhile "Office Boy" watches Mary's machinations and problems with amusement, until the two realize they're in love and she wants to extricate herself from the mob, but the mobsters don't want to let go.

Though there are killings, they're played more for laughs than anything else; then, at the point where Lombard and Morris fall in love, it becomes more melodramatic. It's the type of movie which feels like it should be a tough Warner Bros. pre-Code comedy, but it's got MGM glamour spread on top.

It's an uneven film, to be sure, but worth a look for fans of Lombard and Morris. I found it unusual but amusing enough to entertain.

The supporting cast includes Zasu Pitts as Lombard's best friend. Look for Eddie "Rochester" Anderson as a bootblack who makes an unfortunate discovery.

THE GAY BRIDE was directed by Jack Conway and filmed by Ray June. It runs 80 minutes.

The print was a little soft but quite watchable, with good sound. There are no extras.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop or from any online retailers where DVDs and Blu-rays are sold.


Blogger Caftan Woman said...

I can't wrap my head around Pendleton and the boss and Morris his lackey. It should be the other way around. Nonetheless, I won't ignore this if the title comes my way. I feel the same way about some MGM pictures of this era, that they should have been edgier, but threw a can of studio gloss on top of things.

5:35 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

That was definitely part of what made the movie so strange! Morris is just a nice honest guy earning easy money doing a "clean" job for the mobster boss. With Pendleton the top guy it made it easier to believe Morris just sitting back and kind of laughing at all the goings-on, at least!

Best wishes,

9:42 PM  
Blogger egomoi said...

Some pretty snappy one-liners by Sam and Stella Spewack, who went on to better things.

6:51 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks for adding your thoughts on that aspect of the movie!

Best wishes,

10:26 AM  

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