Saturday, March 17, 2018

Pot O' Gold

I don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day, but if you want a movie with some Irish characters you could do worse than Pot O' Gold.

James Stewart plays Jimmy Haskell, who runs a small-town music store that he inherited from his father. Unfortunately, Dad was never really able to make a go of it, and Jimmy is the same, as he faces a life of privation and debts that he really can't pay off. His uncle C.J. (Charles Winninger) knows all of this, and is willing to help Jimmy out. C.J. runs a big factory in the big city, and is offering Jimmy a well-paying job at the factory. Since the sheriff has an order to attach the store for unpaid debts.

Before Jimmy arrives, we learn that C.J. hates music, and has a dispute with the neighbors, the McCorkles, led by Ma (Mary Gordon) and her daughter Molly (Paulette Goddard). The let out rooms in their building to members of a swing band, who would use Molly as their singer if only they could get gigs. In the meantime, they practice and practice, which drives C.J. insane. He tries to get the law to declare the McCorkles a nuisance.

Jimmy arrives in the city, and before he's able to see C.J., he meets Mary. And then he finds that the McCorkles are being harassed for their practicing music. Jimmy plays the harmonica and joins them in a jam session, so you know Mary is going to fall in love with Jimmy. But other events transpire. C.J. tries to serve an order to cease and desist, and in the resulting dispute, Jimmy throws a tomato that accidentally hits his uncle. So Uncle wants the assailant thrown in jail, not realizing that he'd be jailing his nephew. Mary, meanwhile, never learned that Jimmy's full name is James Hamilton Haskell. If she did, she'd certainly hate him.

You can probably guess where all of this is going to go: Jimmy and Mary are going to wind up together in the last reel, and C.J. is going to be OK with music. How it gets there is always the point of a movie like this. In that regard, I prefer any number of other movies. I'm never a fan of the stereotypical Irish mother portrayal, and I didn't particularly care for the musical numbers, save for one fun dream sequence. The resolution of the plot, involving a radio show giveaway, also made no sense, as we've seen from all sorts of movies from the era that radio contests were a big thing back then.

Still, if you're looking for something that's amiable and not one bit challenging, you could do a heck of a lot worse than to watch Pot O' Gold. And I'm sure that many of you will like it more than I did.

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