Today is Sunday, so it’s time for this week’s second 100 New Code Films article. I publish articles from this series on PEPS more frequently than any other. That is because, as part of this series, I have determined to watch and review 100 American Breen Era (1934-1954) films which I have never seen before during this year. To equal 100 films in all, I have to write about two films per week in all but four weeks of 2020. We are now on the ninety-fourth film, almost to the end of this series! This marks the end of the last week in November. The next article I publish in this series will be in December!
Today’s topic is John Loves Mary from 1949. My mother bought this film on Amazon Prime Video a little while ago and watched it by herself. When we were trying to find another film to watch on Sunday, she suggested this one, which my father, my sister, and I had yet to see. Based on her recommendation, we decided to watch it.
A senator’s daughter eagerly awaits her sweetheart’s return after four years away during World War II. She is surprised when, instead of him, his best friend arrives, having been told to meet the returning soldier there. However, she is delighted to meet him when she realizes that he was the man who saved her beloved’s life. When the soldier finally arrives, their reunion is glorious. However, when she leaves the room, he tells his best friend that he found his British fiancée whom they both thought dead and married her so that she could come to America and wed his friend after getting an annulment from him! He plans to tell his sweetheart about his noble deed, explaining that they’ll only have to wait six weeks for his divorce before getting married themselves. However, the plan’s folly is revealed when his friend confesses that he got married to an American woman who is currently at the hospital, bringing their child into the world! Now the newly returned soldier is really in a mess, since his British bride is set to arrive in New York any day now. Matters are further complicated because the overbearing senator and his wife are back in town, and they start planning the wedding for within the next few days! The two soldiers must enlist the aid of their despised former lieutenant to impersonate an officer and provide a suitable alibis for his trip to Nevada for six weeks. Will his real fiancée believe him and wait?
This movie stars Ronald Reagan, Patricia Neal in her first film, and Jack Carson. Supporting actors include Edward Arnold, Wayne Morris, Virginia Field, Katharine Alexander, and Paul Harvey.
This movie was directed by David Butler. It was produced by Jerry Wald. The production company was Warner Bros. The writers were Henry and Phoebe Ephron. It was from the hit Broadway play of the same name by Norman Krasna.
This is a good Code film. It features some complex, confusing marital mix-ups, but it is always decent. This is a good example of the sophisticated kind of humor which can be found in many Code films. It is intelligent and mature yet not inappropriate or suggestive. I also appreciate how well the divorce issue was handled. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but I will say that marriage is upheld throughout the story.
I highly recommend this film. Fans of Ronald Reagan will appreciate his expertly comedic performance. He is a genuine, sincere young man, but he also is really funny at times, especially when he gets into jams. Patricia Neal is excellent as this story’s leading lady. This is the first film in which I have seen her playing a leading lady. Before this, I have only seen her in a cameo in It’s a Great Feeling and in the older woman role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Unlike her harsh part in that film, she is very sweet and tender as Mary. Jack Carson is really funny as John’s (Ronald Reagan) best friend and sidekick, Fred. As those familiar with his work will assume, he is hilarious, bumbling, confused, but likeable. Edward Arnold is surprisingly rambunctious in this part. Although often gruff and sometimes even menacing, he is surprisingly comical as the blustery senator. Katharine Alexander is his perfect counterpart as the slightly ditsy wife. Wayne Morris is comically sleazy as Lt. O’Leary, the double-crossing officer who helps them with their scheme and almost ruins them many times. It’s a really great, enjoyable film. I know you’ll enjoy it!
Please join our two upcoming blogathons!
Follow us to bring back the Code and save the arts in America!