Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Wanting And Having Are Two Different Things

I did not get nearly as much done during my visit with my dad as I wanted, largely because it takes awhile for him to get moving, and I made the mistake of waiting for that rather than going and doing my thing, then meeting him later. But I did get to see some other movies, one of which was Woman Wanted, with Maureen O'Sullivan and Joel McCrea.

Ann (O'Sullivan) is found guilty of murdering her boyfriend, while she claims innocence. In fact, some mobsters killed the guy, and are hoping her facing the electric chair will convince her to tell them the locations of some bonds the deceased hid. McCrea plays Tony Baxter, an attorney who happened to see her from the window of the courtroom he was in, while she waited on the jury's deliberations, and made arrangements for dinner through pantomime. Quite how this guy is a successful enough attorney in the '30s to own two cars, a nice apartment, and a butler - played by a Robert Greig as the kind of classic, unflappable, dry wit butler - I don't know. My theory is he's a mob lawyer, probably for some Edward G. Robinson character busy in a different movie.

The mob arranges for Ann to escape the paddy wagon, but she spots Baxter in his car and hops in. Hijinks ensue in his apartment as the house dick spots her in the lobby and tries to find her, and Baxter's on-again, off-again fiance shows up, announcing the engagement is on again. By the time Baxter's learns who Ann is, he's decided he believes she's innocent and tries to help her prove it. They escape death once or twice, Ann tries to sacrifice herself to keep him safe, he brashly charges in to try and save her, the cops and D.A. show up in time, everything turns out great, and the two find out they're in love, I guess. Not sure what happens with Tony's fiance. Guess it's off again, but she pretty much drops out of the story whenever she isn't convenient to advance the plot or cause tension.

McCrea and Sullivan seem to have a good, playful chemistry, although the film didn't really sell me on them as a romantic couple. They got along well enough I could see them hanging out together and eventually falling in love, but I didn't think there was enough build up to justify it in the film. Greig's pretty good. He's the one who gets nervous about lying to the cops, but does it anyway. I guess he's had to lie for Tony enough he figures at least this time it might be for a good cause. Mostly it's watching him willing take the heat for Tony's shenanigans, because he does it so matter-of-factly. It's one of those movies where I'm not that invested in the plot, which is fairly paint-by-numbers, but there are individual scenes or performances I end up enjoying.

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