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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Theodora Goes Wild (1936)

A small New England town is in an uproar when their local newspaper prints excerpts from a risque best seller which they consider to be obscene. Little to they know that the authoress of that scandalous novel was written under a pseudonym by one of their most strait laced and respected citizens (Irene Dunne). I've never been a fan of Dunne in her weepies like LOVE AFFAIR or her musical performances like ROBERTA. But as a screwball comedienne, she can't be touched! She's enchanting here in an Oscar nominated performance. The film manages to be quite amusing while shooting down its target ... hypocrisy, whether of the small minded small town variety or the double standard of so called free souls who delude themselves when they really aren't free at all but just as concerned with societal approval as anyone else. It's a pity Dunne didn't have a partner equal to her. In her pairings with Cary Grant whether THE AWFUL TRUTH or MY FAVORITE WIFE, she has an equal but Melvyn Douglas doesn't have the soul of a farceur. Directed by Richard Boleslawski and with Thomas Mitchell, Spring Byington, Elisabeth Risdon and Thurston Hall.

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