Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Woman Wanted (1935)

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?


Kate Gabrielle said...

wow, except for Margaret Lockwood I always used to get them confused too! I have it sorted out now, but I always associate one with the other two, and probably will forever.

Love Joel McCrazy! ;-D

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with Maureen O'Hara, but all the others blur together. I know that Margaret O'Sullivan is Mia Farrow's mother, but I can never actually recognize her.

I LOVE Joel McCrea, but I haven't even heard of this movie. It's on my list now!

Millie said...

Joel McCrazy. New favorite phrase.

And I know what you're saying. I ADORE Joel!

Hahaha! I ALWAYS get Maureen O'Sullivan and Margaret Sullavan mixed up!

Junebug101 said...

As editor of Maureen O'Hara's official website "Maureen O'Hara Magazine, and the person who also handles her fan mail, I can tell you that Maureen O'Sullivan is the one most often confused with Ms. O'Hara. Next is Rita Hayworth and then Susan Hayward. I've had people send photos of Maureen O'Sullivan and Rita saying they are big fans and want her to sign the photos. LOL

Maureen is, of course, retired, resides in Ireland and will celebrate her 90th birthday this August 17th. We have current photos of her on the site so just Google "Maureen O'Hara" and it should pop up in first, second, or third position.

Jennythenipper said...

Glad I'm not the only one who gets these actresses confused!

Junebug, welcome. I will take a look at the official website. Glad to hear Ms. O'Hara is still alive and kickin' as they say. I realize I shouldn't have said "they are all English" in my piece. Oh, dear. I've lived in Ireland. I know that's a mistake you shouldn't make.

SteveQ said...

If the films were in color, you could go by hair color. One red, one black, one brown and one usully blondish... unless, of course, the role demands different!

Jennythenipper said...

Yeah, I always see Maureen in technicolor with her red hair, even though many of her films were in B&W. I think that explains why people confused Rita Hayworth with Maureen O'Hara. They were both famous redheads.

Sally said...

I absolutely love the way you distinguish all those Margarets. Brilliant! I think that will actually help me a lot. I really mixed up O'Sullivan and O'Hara. I finally got them straight but I think your trick will help me to keep them straight. So cool!

Jennythenipper said...

Glad to be of help, Sally. Now if we could only figure out Mary Steenburgeon and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio!

SteveQ said...

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Mary Stuart Masterson!

James Franciscus and Tony Franciosa?

Grant Shaud and Grant Show?

Bill Pullman and Bill Paxton?

Jennythenipper said...

Even Better, Steve. The Pullman Paxton one baffles me.