Monday, August 29, 2022

Lucky Partners

Jack Carson is the star getting 24 hours of his movies played tomorrow, August 30. I think that for all the movie on the TCM schedule tomorrow, I've either blogged about it or haven't seen it yet. However, within the last week or so I watched a Carson movie that seems to have gotten a Warner Archive release but is not part of the Carson lineup tomorrow: Lucky Partners.

Carson, unsurprisingly, plays a supporting role here. Since the movie was made at RKO, the real star here is Ginger Rogers, playing Jean Newton. Jean lives in Greenwich Village with her aunt Lucy (Spring Byington), working at Lucy's bookstore. But she's engaged to Freddie (that's Jack Carson if you couldn't tell), an insurance salesman. That relatively calm life is about to be upended, however. In the film's opening scene, Jean comes across a random stranger, David Grant (Ronald Colman), who wishes her good luck.

Jean decides to buy an Irish Sweepstakes ticket, on the proviso that David spring for half the cost and they split the proceeds should they win. David agrees, but with a proviso of his own, which is that the two go on a trip together should the ticket pay off, as David has some sort of social experiment he wants to undertake and apparently needs a woman for it.

Freddie isn't terribly pleased, and tries to sell the ticket out from under Jean and David when he learns it has a greater potential to pay off (no, I don't understand the workings of the Sweepstakes either), and decides he's going to sell Jean's half of the ticket for a cool $6,000, which was a fairly substantial sum at the time. David in theory still has his half of the ticket, but Jean, apparently thinking that the $6,000 is for the whole ticket, decides to offer half of that to David.

David then decides to do a scaled-down version of the experiment, buying a car in Jean's name and then taking her up to Niagara Falls, where they'll register as brother and sister in separate rooms. Jean agrees, with Freddie eventually following the two of them up to Niagara Falls. As you can probably guess since Colman is billed ahead of Carson, David falls in love with Jean, and the feeling winds up being mutual. But David has a past, and is transporting a painting that may not legally belong to him, winding up in a trial in one of those small-town courtrooms....

Lucky Partners is a movie that I wanted to like more than I did, since the cast is appealing and everybody is professional. But the script does none of them any favors, and the courtroom scene is a particular mess. Most trials don't have sparks, so Hollywood has to create them, with the result being usually less funny than they think. Jean's motives also make little sense, at least in the beginning of the movie.

Still, with a cast like this, Lucky Partners is the sort of movie you'll probably want to watch for yourself and come to your own opinions.

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