Monday, April 15, 2024

Tonight's Movie: Cocktail Hour (1933) - A Sony Blu-ray Review

One of the movies I most enjoyed at the 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival was the pre-Code COCKTAIL HOUR (1933).

The movie was introduced by the late Cari Beauchamp, so it seemed fitting that I watched it again this weekend on the day her memorial service took place. At the 2022 screening Cari interviewed Suzanne Lloyd about her grandfather Harold's friendship with the movie's star, Bebe Daniels. A fond memory.

At the time of that screening I expressed the hope that COCKTAIL HOUR would come out on DVD or Blu-ray, so what a delightful surprise to learn that the movie has just had a Blu-ray release from Sony!

This fast-moving 73-minute film tells the story of Cynthia (Daniels), a commercial artist who has many male admirers but loves her freedom. After a childhood on a Kansas farm, she's loving the high life and not having many responsibilities.

Randy (Randolph Scott), a magazine publisher who contracts for her paintings, proposes to Cynthia when she's about to leave for a European vacation. She boards her cruise anyway, where she's pursued by both a young nobleman (Barry Norton) and a cad (Sidney Blackmer) who conceals important information.

This movie is fun from the first seconds, as eagle-eyed classic film fans will spot "Wild Bill" Elliott delivering the first line and Dennis O'Keefe saying the third. Both actors worked frequently as extras and bit players throughout the '30s, very often -- as in this case -- in the same movies.

There's sort of a "taming of the shrew" theme and plenty of dialogue considered chauvinistic from the modern perspective, but honestly the eye-rolling lines just added to my enjoyment. It was a different time! And despite their periodic battles, both Daniels and Scott are appealing leads.

I also loved the Art Deco settings, especially the cruise ship. Movies set on ships and trains are among my favorite things.

The movie was directed by Victor Schertizinger and filmed by Joseph August. The screenplay was by Gertrude Purcell and Richard Schayer, based on a story by James Kevin McGuinness.

The supporting cast includes Muriel Kirkland, Jessie Ralph, George Nardelli, Willie Fung, and Marjorie Gateson.

The Blu-ray print is pristine, which adds to the enjoyment. A censored scene which now exists only via the soundtrack is included, with stills used while the dialogue plays.

There are no extras on the Blu-ray disc. English subtitles are available.

Kudos to Sony for making this rarely seen movie widely available, especially in such a nice print. Recommended for fans of pre-Code fun!

Thanks to Allied Vaughn and Sony for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray. COCKTAIL HOUR may be purchased from Movie Zyng, Amazon, and other online retailers.


Blogger Vienna said...

This sounds interesting. Didn’t know Randolph Scott had costarred wit Bebe Daniels.

2:08 PM  

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