Most romantic film #27: The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer (1947)

This is a delightful comedy starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple and Rudy Vallee. This is a fine example of “screwball comedy” meaning that while the characters are reasonable people, the situation forces them into comic action.

Or most of the people are reasonable.

The play starts with Susan Turner (Shirley Temple), an impressionable high school girl, developing a crush on Richard Nugent (Grant), an artist who comes to give an address at her school. She sees him as a knight in shining armor, and boom! falls “in love.” She tracks him to his apartment, where she is falls asleep waiting for him to come home–like Goldilocks. Nugent comes home, fails to see her, and the cops arrive, finding an underage girl in Nugent’s apartment, one who has said, moreover that she is his girlfriend, etc. in order to get into apartment… Complications and hilarity ensue.

Especially because Susan’s older sister is Margaret (Myrna Loy) a judge who ahs already had the pleasure of seeing Nugent in her courtroom as the catalyst to a fight between two women and their dates. Margaret and her boyfriend, D.A. Chamberlain (Vallee) want to throw the book at Nugent, but Margaret’s Uncle Matt (Ray Collins) talks Margaret into convincing Nugent to play along with Susan until her crush fades.

Nugent, attracted to Margaret, goes along.

Hilarity ensues, as we knew it would, and the adult couple (Grant and Loy) try to work out their affair while Susan continues to crush on Nugent, and the boyfriends of Margaret and Susan try to crush Nugent.

The quantifiable difference between Susan’s crush and actions and the adult love story–with Grant and Loy playing the grown-up couple–is well done. Once Margaret gets over her reluctance to see Grant’s character for what he really is, not the playboy she imagines him to be but her mental and emotional equal, their “date” is charming. Until it is crashed by Susan, Susan’s boyfriend, Chamberlain, and the feuding couples from the original court case. Uh-oh.

The screenplay is witty, outright laugh-filled, and very, very smart. Written by Sidney Sheldon (novelist, screenwriter, TV writer/producer) won an Oscar for it. He went on to create/develop/write for/produce I Dream of Jeannie, The Patty Duke Show, Hart to Hart, Annie Get Your Gun, Dream Wife, and a bunch of bestselling novels, including The Other Side of Midnight. 

The funniest bit:

  • “You remind me of a man.”
  • “What man?”
  • “The man with the power.”
  • “What power?”
  • “The power of hoodoo.”
  • “Who do?”
  • “You do.”
  • “Do what?”
  • “Remind me of a man.”
  • “What man?”…

You’ll see.

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2 thoughts on “Most romantic film #27: The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer (1947)

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