Sunday, July 14, 2019

Tonight's Movie: Bridal Suite (1939) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Robert Young and Annabella star in BRIDAL SUITE (1939) a romantic comedy recently released on DVD by the Warner Archive.

Young plays Neil McGill, the ne'er-do-well son of wealthy businessman Cornelius McGill (Gene Lockhart). Neil twice conveniently "forgets" to marry Abbie (Virginia Field) -- who in actuality is only marrying him for his money.

Neil's flighty mother (Billie Burke) takes him to the Alps to visit a psychiatrist (Walter Connolly) about his memory issues, and while there he falls hard for Luise (Annabella), who works at their hotel.

If Neil is going to get out of a third try at marrying Abbie and marry Luise instead, he's first going to have to do some serious growing up, including getting a job for the very first time in his life.

This is reasonably entertaining, thanks to a great cast and a brisk 70-minute running time, although it's somewhat problematic in that Young's central character is a bit of a jerk for much of the movie.

I like Young a lot, but having seen him in a number of romantic comedies, including MARRIED BEFORE BREAKFAST (1937), reviewed here last week, I've come to feel he was better suited for drama. He simply doesn't have a light enough touch to pull off silly (or stupid) behavior and make it seem charming. This type of part was better suited for Robert Montgomery, who some sources say was originally slated for the role.

On the other hand, Young was perfectly suited for sincere dramatic roles in films like JOURNEY FOR MARGARET (1942) or CLAUDIA (1943), two of my favorite Young performances.

French-born Annabella, who married Tyrone Power around the time this movie was made, does well as the leading lady. (She's notably more charming than Franciska Gaal, another European import MGM used around this time.) The excellent supporting cast also includes Reginald Owen, Arthur Treacher, and Felix Bressart. Look for little Bobby Blake early in the film.

All in all, the film could have been better yet it's a pleasant enough time spent with the cast in MGM's typically polished setting -- love the Art Deco ship's lobby! -- and it builds to a nice conclusion.

BRIDAL SUITE was directed by William Thiele and filmed by Clyde De Vinna.

The Warner Archive print is very good. The disc includes the trailer.

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.


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