July 17, 2017
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941).
Review #970: Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
Carole Lombard (Ann Krausheimer Smith), Robert Montgomery (David Smith), Gene Raymond (Jefferson Custer), Jack Carson (Chuck Benson), Philip Merivale (Ashley Custer), Lucile Watson (Mrs. Custer), William Tracy (Sammy), Charles Halton (Harry Deever), Esther Dale (Mrs. Krausheimer), Emma Dunn (Martha), Betty Compson (Gertie), and Patricia Farr (Gloria) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock (#219 - Rope, #223 - North by Northwest, #446 - Spellbound, #447 - Psycho, #450 - Vertigo, #455 - Rear Window, #553 - Strangers on a Train, #800 - Shadow of a Doubt, #910 - Notorious, #963 - The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog, #964 - The Ring (1927), and #965 - Downhill)
This is the only screwball comedy that Alfred Hitchcock ever directed in his career, and while it may not be up to par with some of the films previously covered on here, this is at least serviceable entertainment, even if built on flimsy ground. It has a dry and sometimes offbeat feel that definitely could rankle a viewer if they don't have enough patience - or not in the right mood, anyway. Lombard and Montgomery are fairly decent together, though admittedly they work better in the first half of the movie, with the climax being the weakest part of the film due to feeling clunky; the Florida Club sequence is a fine highlight to showcase with the two (along with Carson). They have fine timing together, though Lombard is the more interesting one to follow. This was the last film released during Carole Lombard's lifetime, as she died the following year in a plane crash prior to her last film appearance in To Be or Not to Be (1942). Raymond is decent (such as the sequence at the World's Fair), and Carson is fairly charming as well. The circumstances that set up the plot are a bit offbeat, but fairly fitting for the time and kind of comedy the film is going for. The movie lasts 94 minutes, which is fairly acceptable and the movie has a fine enough pace that doesn't seem to drag too much. Without trying to give too much away, the climax is where the movie nearly pulls itself out of the seams, in part because of how the main characters get back together; it just feels a bit clumsy and not very justified. Regardless of how the movie ends, this is an adequate (if not okay) movie that benefits best from trying to make laughs that just happens to have been shot by Alfred Hitchcock.
Overall, I give it 7 out of 10 stars.