Ladies in Love ( 1936 ) 14k
Three women rent an apartment in Budapest and make a wish to find romance. Loretta Young, Janet Gaynor, Constance Bennett, Tyrone Power, Don Ameche, Paul Lukas. Twentieth Century Fox. Directed by Edward H. Griffith.
Think of this as Three Coins in a Fountain, How to Marry a Millionaire and The Best of Everything all rolled into one mid-1930s package. Loretta Young, Janet Gaynor, and Constance Bennett were three of the biggest stars in Hollywood at the time and it was a jim dandy idea to team them up. Ladies in Love gives each of the gals an equal 1/3 share of the spotlight. Don Ameche is adorable in only his third film and Alan Mowbray actually plays a not-so-villainous character. Also, a very young Simone Simon has a supporting role although I couldn't understand a word of what she was saying.
April Love ( 1957 ) 14k
A clean-cut young man arrives at the trotting-horse farm of his aunt and uncle in order to cool his heels when he gets his driving license revoked. He then promptly falls in love with two of the neighbor's daughters. That's what happens in April. Pat Boone, Shirley Jones, Dolores Michaels, Arthur O'Connell, Jeanette Nolan. Twentieth Century Fox. Directed by Henry Levin.
Pat Boone just isn't convincing as a juvenile delinquent and, although you have the notion that the plot initially called for the character to be a trouble-maker, Boone makes him out to be quiet a noble young man. Jones isn't very convincing either as a "tomboy" ( they rarely wear lipstick and eye shadow ) but what the hay! the film is in Technicolor, features some lovely 50s tunes, and trots along at a gentle pace....that makes it a winner.
The Major and the Minor ( 1942 ) 18k
In order to obtain the half-fare rate onboard a train, a young woman dresses down as a girl and finds herself at a boys military academy and falling in love with a major! Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland, Rita Johnson, Diana Lynn, Robert Benchley. Paramount Pictures. Directed by Billy Wilder.
Most of the Billy Wilder fans either love this film or hate it. There is no middle ground. We're on the loving side of the stadium and find this to be one of Wilder's best comedies. Rogers is adorable as "Sue-Sue" and, unlike what others may say, does not portray the character with too much goo. She strikes just the right balance between the cynical city-gal and a young woman who finds herself in a predicament she cannot escape from gracefully. The plot-line re-appeared in the 1956 Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis comedy You're Never Too Young with the added touch of a robbery in the mix. Diana Lynn appeared in both films.
Let's Do it Again ( 1953 ) Elct.
A songwriter and his wife break up. When the wife tries to find a new husband she realizes how much she loves her first husband. Jane Wyman, Ray Milland, Aldo Ray, Tom Helmore. Columbia Pictures. Directed by Alexander Hall.
Alexander Hall was a competent director in the 1930s and 1940s, with a number of great comedies under his belt ( notably The Doctor Takes a Wife ) but he was certainly no Leo McCarey. This film was a semi-remake of McCarey's 1937 box-office hit The Awful Truth but it is nowhere near as entertaining. Milland lost his screwball flair by the 1950s but Wyman remained unscathed through this fiasco and even managed to dazzle singing three great song numbers.
There's Always Tomorrow ( 1955 ) 14k
The nosy son of a toy manufacturer believes his dad is having an affair with another woman and tries to break it up before his mother finds out. Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Joan Bennett, William Reynolds, Judy Nugent. Universal Pictures. Directed by Douglas Sirk.
Douglas Sirk was the reigning king of Soap ( with a capital S ) in the 1950s. This one is missing his customary lush Technicolor setting but features plenty of colorful characters, notably the grown children of toy manufacturer Clifford Groves portrayed by William Reynolds and Gigi Perreau. The time and attention that they deny their father is funneled into their warped desire to alienate him from the family and make him out to be a heel. It's an absorbing study of what happens when children neglect their fathers and the bitter ending makes you wish papa bear left home to find happiness in another cave. Pat Crowley and Barbara Stanwyck play the only decent characters in this moody melodrama.