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Monday, May 3, 2021

No Time For Comedy (1940)

A hick (James Stewart) from a small Minnesota town writes a play that turns out to be a surprise hit on Broadway. He and the play's leading lady (Rosalind Russell) fall in love and they're quite happy as he continues to write hit plays for her to star in. But when he has a case of writer's block and another woman (Genevieve Tobin) enters the picture to "inspire" him, trouble in the marriage ensues. Based on the play by S.N. Behrman and directed by William Keighley (THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER). I'm not familiar with Behrman's play which had a six month run on Broadway with Laurence Olivier and Katharine Cornell in the leads but I suspect some changes might have been made for the film (I can't image Olivier as a hick from Minnesota). Stewart's playwright is an annoying and abrasive jerk and not even Stewart's normal charm can make him appealing. The film starts off promisingly but once Stewart and Russell get married, the movie turns into a boring chatter fest with only some of the film's supporting cast to provide some much needed distraction. The most bizarre turn in the film has Louise Beavers as an actress playing a maid in the Broadway show that makes Stewart a success. Jump several years and Beavers is a maid and confidante to Russell with no explanation on why an actress decided to become a maid instead! With Charlie Ruggles, Allyn Joslyn and Frank Faylen. 

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