Saturday, February 23, 2019

Tonight's Movie: Hide-Out (1934) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Robert Montgomery and Maureen O'Sullivan star in HIDE-OUT (1934), a charming love story which has long been a favorite of mine. I'm delighted that it's now available on DVD thanks to the Warner Archive.

HIDE-OUT was written by the top team of Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich, based on a story by Mauri Grashin. It's the tale of racketeer Lucky Wilson (Montgomery), a rather dissolute, high-living playboy who unexpectedly finds himself "marooned" in the country with a family of farmers as he recovers from a gunshot wound.

Lucky is initially somewhat annoyed by his rustic surroundings, but he soon finds himself warming to farm life thanks to the kindness of his hosts, the Millers (Whitford Kane and Elizabeth Patterson), their young son Willie (Mickey Rooney), and most especially lovely young Pauline (O'Sullivan).

The ostensibly hardened Lucky struggles to understand the feelings he's developing for Pauline, especially when he finds himself unable to take advantage of her when they're alone in a house due to a rainstorm. Suddenly caring more about her than his own wants? He has no idea how to explain himself to her, let alone to himself! His tongue-tied babbling is rather adorable.

Lucky realizes that before he can plan a life with Pauline, as he suddenly wants to do, he's got to clean up the mess he left behind in New York. That may happen sooner than he thinks, as a pair of police detectives (Edward Arnold and Edward Brophy) are hot on his tale.

HIDE-OUT is an utterly delightful film thanks to a fine story and script and the strong playing of the cast. The "fish out of water" and "tough guy redeemed by the love of a good woman" angles may seem old hat today, but it's important to remember that they were still fairly original ideas in the early '30s. What's more, the film is quite well scripted, giving Montgomery the basis for an excellent, believable performance, as he gradually reveals the good man hiding inside the jerk. Montgomery's last couple of scenes with O'Sullivan are particularly special, as he becomes emotional at the prospect of parting from her.

By chance I've seen O'Sullivan in two films in a week's time, having seen her last weekend in THE TALL T (1957). It's completely believable that Lucky would fall for the innocent young girl with the shining, trusting eyes. O'Sullivan is a perfect match for Montgomery, leaving no doubt that he'll be coming back to her and the warmth of her family.

The other actors are all tops, making this film a highly enjoyable 81 minutes. I've been waiting for this film to come out on DVD for years and am delighted it's finally happened! (Crossing my fingers that FUGITIVE LOVERS, in which Montgomery starred with his lifelong friend Madge Evans, won't be far behind...)

HIDE-OUT was directed by W.S. Van Dyke, just after he directed THE THIN MAN (1934). It was filmed in black and white by Ray June and Sidney Wagner.

HIDE-OUT was remade a few years later as I'LL WAIT FOR YOU (1941), starring Robert Sterling and Marsha Hunt. The early scenes depicting Lucky's background were condensed in I'LL WAIT FOR YOU, with the film running eight minutes shorter than the original. I'LL WAIT FOR YOU is quite enjoyable thanks to the cast and I recommend it, though my favorite of the two films is the original movie. I'LL WAIT FOR YOU was released on DVD by the Warner Archive several years ago.

The HIDE-OUT print has some occasional streaks but nothing serious. There are no extras.

HIDE-OUT is one of the films which made me the Robert Montgomery fan I am today. Recommended.

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 Brittaney said...

I've always thought Robert Montgomery was underrated as an actor, which films like this prove. I too, love this movie and am glad to hear it is out on DVD now.

6:57 AM  
Blogger KC said...

I was charmed by this one too. The cast, the chemistry between the two leads. It just works!

1:06 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Brittaney, I definitely agree about Montgomery!

Glad to know both of you love this movie like I do. Montgomery really moves me in his last couple scenes with O'Sullivan. As you say, KC, wonderful chemistry.

Best wishes,

3:23 PM  

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