Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Tonight's Movie: Out of the Blue (1947) - A ClassicFlix Blu-ray Review

OUT OF THE BLUE (1947) is a film I've wanted to see for some time now, as it stars favorites Virginia Mayo, George Brent, and Carole Landis.

Till now the movie has eluded me...and then came a wonderful surprise, when ClassicFlix announced the company would be releasing it on Blu-ray.

The film just came out very recently, and I had the opportunity to see it tonight at long last. It was immediately apparent that the Blu-ray is beautifully restored; watching this disc was a visual treat.

The movie is a goofball comedy which finds Brent playing Arthur, the henpecked husband of Mae (Landis). Mae leaves town for a brief trip and Arthur heads to the nearest bar, where he meets a drunken interior decorator named Olive (Ann Dvorak).

Just like Edward G. Robinson's professor in THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW (1944), Arthur soon regrets kicking up his heels while the wife is out of town! Olive ends up going home with Arthur to his apartment and then passing out.

Arthur thinks Olive is dead (!) and, terrified of his wife's reaction -- he seems more nervous of her than he does the police -- he deposits Olive's "body" on the next-door terrace of his neighbor David (Turhan Bey), with whom he's been quarreling about David's dog.

What follows is a zany film with Olive's "body" coming and going between the apartments, and at one point David and his new ladylove Deborah (Mayo) make Arthur think Olive is really dead and force him to help bury the "body."

Meanwhile two busybody neighbors (Elizabeth Patterson and Julia Dean) keep an eye on the goings-on, and Mae is due home from her trip...

This is a pleasantly silly film which plays better than it may sound. While the pace isn't as manic as one may expect, it sustains the underlying comedic energy for all of its 84 minutes without petering out; while not a classic, I enjoyed it and would watch it again.

I found OUT OF THE BLUE a better film than a couple of other '40s Brent comedies with similarities, the bedroom farce TWIN BEDS (1942) and the mystery THE CORPSE CAME C.O.D. (1947). With its Greenwich Village setting, the film reminded me slightly of another comedic mystery, A NIGHT TO REMEMBER (1943), which starred Loretta Young and Brian Aherne.

Dvorak's drinking is played for laughs, which wasn't unusual in that era; her character was initially a bit disconcerting, but once I realized every serious topic in the movie, including murder, was being treated as a joke it no longer concerned me.

It was a bit surprising to find Landis playing a shrew and Brent timidly saying "Yes, dear" over and over while wearing horn-rimmed glasses. Landis's character is a bit cardboard, as there's no motivation for her controlling treatment of her husband, but she looks lovely. Brent does well as the husband who's increasingly exasperated with both his wife and the unusual situations he finds himself in thanks to Olive.

The absolute charmers of the movie are Bey and Mayo, who play their roles with appealing high spirits. Their characters meet as the movie opens and experience an instant attraction; their romance develops as they simultaneously deal with the weirdness which comes their way. Bey is suavely handsome, and I wish he'd played more roles like this, as he's quite smooth handling comedy. Mayo's good-natured character is quite delightful -- and she has a fantastic wardrobe, including some beautiful hats. This gorgeous pair was clearly meant to be together.

Richard Lane is on hand as a police detective, and the cast also includes Charlie Smith, Paul Harvey, and Tito Vuolo. The dog Flame, who plays David's dog, also appeared in the RUSTY film series for Columbia Pictures beginning in 1947, the same year OUT OF THE BLUE was released.

OUT OF THE BLUE was released by Eagle-Lion, which may have been a Poverty Row studio, but they turned out some excellent films in the late '40s, including REPEAT PERFORMANCE (1947), RAW DEAL (1948), and TRAPPED (1949).

Producer Bryan Foy had spent many years at Warner Bros., as had star Brent, while Mayo was wrapping up work for Goldwyn and would soon be headed to the Warner Bros. studio for several years. While played on a limited number of sets, the production has a feel of class thanks to the filmmakers and cast.

OUT OF THE BLUE was directed by Leigh Jason and filmed in black and white by cinematographer Jackson Rose. The screenplay by Walter Bullock, Vera Caspary, and Edward Eliscu was based on Caspary's story; Caspary was also the author of the novel LAURA.

The Blu-ray looks terrific and also has excellent sound. The disc also includes five trailers for additional discs available from ClassicFlix.

OUT OF THE BLUE is also available from ClassicFlix on DVD.

Thanks to ClassicFlix for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.


Blogger Caftan Woman said...

So happy to hear of the unexpected restoration of Out of the Blue, one of the last of the genuine screwballs. I find it a delight with such fun performances. I would have bet money that this would be a "Laura movie".

Keeping the conversation going (over tea or coffee?) with some thoughts:

6:31 AM  
Blogger Margot Shelby said...

I have to thank Paddy for recommending this to me. I absolutely loved it and will invest in the DVD.

It's nice to see most actors play against type and doing it very well. I'm a fan of against-type casing, it usually shows if an actor is really good, or not.

7:58 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you so much for sending the link, Caftan Woman, which I just revisited. You were correct in guessing I'd enjoy it! And I agree, Virginia Mayo is really adorable in this!

Margot, thanks for adding your endorsement of this fun little movie. So glad it can now be seen in a lovely Blu-ray or DVD.

Best wishes,

11:20 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older