Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Predictable, but entertaining enough

TCM's lineup for this morning and afternoon is a bunch of movies all from 1941. One of those is Come Live With Me, at 3:45 PM ET. Halfway in you can guess where it's going, but the ride is still enjoyable.

Hedy Lamarr plays Johnny Jones, a nightclub singer who is also a refugee from Vienna. Despite her success as an entertainer, being in the country on a tourist visa she's about to have it revoked, which she fears would mean certain death, as she'd be sent back to war-torn Europe. The only way around it it to find somebody she can marry. This is a problem, though. She's got a man she loves, Barton Kendrick, (Ian Hunter), a publisher who already has a wife (Verree Teasdale). She meets writer Bill Smith (James Stewart), though, and it looks like there might be some hope for her. He's willing to marry her, and to prove that this is all business, she's willing to pay him a stipend to cover his expenses, which he considers strictly a loan. What she doesn't know is that he's perfectly willing to use the experience as the plot of his next book.

Worse is that he takes his book to Kendrick, of course not knowing about Kendrick's relationship with the lovely Miss Jones (now Mrs. Smith). Worse, Smith finds himself beginning to fall in love with his "wife". You can guess where the love triangle is heading: Bill takes his "wife" with him to visit his grandmother, and she begins to doubt just whom she really loves.

As I said, it's all predictable stuff, especially the whole two people thrown together by circumstance who wind up falling in love, especially when one of them is already in love with somebody else, part. In fact, Stewart did a movie reminiscent of this a few years earlier with It's a Wonderful World. Still, Stewart is always good in roles like this, and Lamarr is not just lovely, she's actually a capable enough actress. Add in the production values of MGM and you wind up with a movie that will never be considered truly great, but will always be good for a classic movie fan.

Come Live With Me got a release to the Warner Archive Collection, so it's availabe on DVD, but a bit pricey.

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