Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Good Fairy

(1935, USA, 98m, b/w)
d William Wyler p Carl Laemmele Jr sc Preston Sturges ph Norbert Brodine ed Daniel Mandell ad Charles D. Hall m David Klatzkin, Heinz Roemheld cast Margaret Sullavan, Frank Morgan, Herbert Marshall, Reginald Owen, Eric Blore, Beulah Bondi, Alan Hale, Cesar Romero

Sweet naïve Margaret Sullavan is released from the orphanage to be a cinema usherette and charged with performing a good deed every day. One is enough: an infatuated older man (Morgan) wants to make her (fictitious) husband rich, so she randomly plucks upright struggling lawyer Marshall from the phone book. Molnar’s play had her as an amoral temptress – who’d expect Sturges to clean things up? But good clean fun it is, as he distills the plot to a purity of ridiculousness, the script bubbling with linguistic confusion and ludicrous names. The Budapest setting, as in Shop Around the Corner, provides a fairytale backdrop where such unlikely events seem perfectly possible and despite Morgan’s one-note stridency and some clumsy direction, the day is carried by Sturgian headlong momentum, amusing support from Owen and Blore, and the supremely winning charm of the two leads.

© Time Out Film Guide

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