I've been a little Joel McCrea crazy (Joel McCrazy?) lately so I really dug this 1935 outing with too oft-over-looked Maureen O'Sullivan. O'Sullivan plays a woman on the run for a crime she didn't commit and Joel McCrea plays a lawyer who helps her out. It's no surprise thathe falls for her and even less surprise that he manages to get her out of the mess.
The film is quite romantic and funny. There is a deliberate It Happened One Night vibe here as the couple bum around the countryside hiding from the cops. There is also a fair amount of suspense as they lurk around the waterfront and other foggy locations. One of the great "only in the movies" touches is that McCrea's character lives on a houseboat, and drives around in a speedboat most of the time. He also has a funny butler (Robert Grieg), which is another one of those things that usually only happens in the movies. To add to the drama, McCrea has a fiancee (Adrienne Ames) from whom he must hide his beautiful fugitive. Woman Wanted is really a romantic drama, crying out to be screwball. Make that fiancee a bit more of a dragon lady, steal a few more cars, throw in an animal, and you'd have it!
O'Sullivan is an actress who I've probably seen in a dozen films, but haven't noticed her acting until recently. To confess the truth, she is part of a cabal of actresses whom I get confused with one another: Maureen O'Sullivan, Maureen O'Hara, Margaret Sullavan and Margaret Lockwood. I actually like ALL of these actresses and am well aware which one I'm watching at the time that I'm doing so. But get me away from one of their movies or the IMDB and I'm at a loss. They are all from the British Isles, their names all start with "M" and most sound Irish. I've had to develop a memory device O' Sullivan is Tarzan's girl. She has the extra "O" in her name, that sounds like Tarzan's call. O'Hara is the Quiet man's Woman. He's so quiet you don't "O'HEAR-a him. (Hey, I didn't say these were clever, just that they work!) Margaret Sullavan is spelled with an "a" as in "The shop around the Corner tried to sell a van to me today." Margaret Lockwood was in the Lady Vanishes. "Michael Redgrave had to knock wood to get lucky with Lockwood." Memorize these idiotic sayings and you'll never get them confused again, I promise.
As for Woman Wanted, despite my efforts to re-write it mentally, it is probably hopelessly mediocre. It's predictable, derivative and forgettable, all that, I give you, and yet... Joel McCrea and speedboats! What's not to love?
Bridget Jones's Dairy (2001)
5 years ago