Tuesday, December 11, 2012

And So They Were Married

A little seen movie showing up on TCM is And So They Were Married, which you can catch tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM.

Melvyn Douglas stars as Stephen Blake, a widower with a young son who is going to be spending Christmas at a 1930s vintage ski resort, with the son soon to join him. Before the son gets there, however, Stephen has a run-in with Edith Farnham (Mary Astor), a divorcée with a young daughter. Because of the initial run-in, their meeting is by no means love at first sight. But with two unattached people, the hotel management is going to try to organize activities to keep them occupied together, and you know that the two are liable to fall in love eventually. There's another issue complicating matters. Edith's daughter doesn't really like Mr. Blake, while when his son arrives, the son finds he doesn't particularly care for Mrs. Farnham. When the two kids overhear the possibility that Stephen might propose to Edith, they decide that they're going to do everything they can to keep that from happening. They're more or less successful in that the two adults decide that if the kids don't want the marriage, then their getting together probably shouldn't happen -- even if they both like each other.

But hold on a minute. Both families go back to the city after their Christmas holiday. At this point, each of the kids realizes that perhaps they liked the other, and certainly their parents are said over not being able to share their love. So the kids decide that they're going to come up with an idea that will bring their parents back together, specifically one which involves the two of them disappearing, forcing their parents to look for them together. Of course, you know that in a movie like this, the kids' plan isn't going to go exactly to plan, and that there will be further complications along the way. You also know that the two adults are most likely to end up together at the end of the movie, but this is one of those movies that's more about how they get there.

And So They Were Married is one of those more-than-capable movies that the studios were churning out in the 1930s. It may have a B movie length of 74 minutes, but it's more of a "programmer" in that unlike the B movies, it's actually got some established stars. The material is nothing special, but Melvyn Douglas (see Ninotchka) and Mary Astor (see The Palm Beach Story) were both good in light romantic comedy fare, and so they make this movie entertaining in spite of its predictability. The end result is a movie that never really hits great, but more than serves its purpose of entertaining you.

And So They Were Married hasn't gotten a DVD release. It would probably be a good double bill DVD set paired with something like If You Could Only Cook: both of them were Columbia programmers from the mid-1930s, eminently entertaining if a bit short of great. (I doubt that's likely to happen, though, since If You Could Only Cook has shown up on a different Columbia box set.)

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