Sunday, August 08, 2010

Bette Davis Month Bonus: June Bride (1948)

I spent the entire month of April writing about Bette Davis movies, but just because I've watched and reviewed 30 Bette Davis movies so far this year doesn't mean that I'm going to stop recording every Bette Davis movie on TCM that I haven't already seen. So I figured I might as well continue to write about them here.

June Bride is not exactly a great one to start on, though; it's a completely forgettable, often strained and really dated romantic comedy with Davis as the editor of a women's magazine and Robert Montgomery as her ex-boyfriend, who goes from being a glamorous war correspondent to getting stuck writing a fluff piece about a Midwestern family wedding and working for the woman he dumped. Davis and Montgomery have little chemistry (they didn't get along at all), and their banter is weak, although Davis does a good job as the assertive career woman who's moved on from being tossed aside, and she gets in a few zingers. There's a clever scene early on in which Linda (Davis) and Carey (Montgomery) go to her apartment after a night of drinking, and they duel over whether he's going to be able to seduce her by alternately turning on and turning off all the lights in the place (she turns them on, he turns them off). It's relatively subtle and well orchestrated.

Unfortunately, once they leave New York for Indiana to work on the magazine piece about the wedding, the banter takes a back seat to lame gags about city vs. country living and a whole bunch of subplots about the Indiana family members that carry no weight whatsoever. Tack on a rather icky resolution that involves celebrating the quickie marriage of a 17-year-old girl (plus Carey at one point giving said girl a spanking, portrayed as normal and completely justified) and of course Linda's abandonment of her career in favor of marriage, and you have many of the worst qualities of '40s romantic comedies, and not nearly enough of the redeeming ones.

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