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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Movie Review: "Made for Each Other" (1939)

Hello lovelies,

Firstly, a big thank you to Clara at Via Margutta 51 for publicizing my "Classic Hollywood Thanksgiving [In Emails]" as recommend reading on her blog's Facebook page! (As well as my friend Natalie who shared the link to the post on her blog). And also a big thank you to everyone who left such sweet comments complimenting my post. I'm glad everyone liked it. :)

Now, onto the Sunday Movie Review. This Sunday I present to you "Made for Each Other", released in Hollywood's Golden Year:  1939.

The poster: I really like it. I think it's very neatly done. Quiet honest by screaming "heartbreak"!

The plot:
Charming singles Jane (Carole Lombard) and John (James Stewart) enthusiastically fall in love, get hitched and have a baby. But soon enough, harsh realities -- including meddling in-laws, money problems and a family illness -- intrude on the couple's dream of living happily ever after. While the floundering lovebirds may be meant for each other, they'll have to work together to weather life's ups and downs. [from Netflix]

The starring players:
  • Carole Lombard as Jane Mason
  • Jimmy Stewart as John Mason
  • Charles Coburn as Judge Joseph Doolittle
The verdict: 
This film stars two of my favorite people, Jimmy Stewart and Carole Lombard. That alone should be a reason to watch this film - and honestly, when I rented this out from Netflix, I didn't know exactly what it was about, only that I was looking forward to seeing Jimmy and Carole together. You have those two, and then you throw in the fabulous Charles Coburn, not to mention this is produced by David O. Selznick - in the same year he'd be releasing "Gone With the Wind." (I'm guessing this was one of his many side projects during the production of The Epic Film).

I was looking through the reviews for this movie on Netflix and I was appalled by the bad reviews it was getting: 2 stars, even 1 star! It certainly wasn't as bad as all that. I think the biggest flaw in this film, and what prevented it from me being able to give it a full four stars, was the strange story structure and awkward plot. This film really brings definition to the "dramedy". I think for the first hour of the movie it did well with this and stayed consistent. The last half an hour, which consists of a family tragedy, a faulty airplane, and a snowstorm threw everything off. The last half hour was so melodramatic you didn't really know how to react because the earlier part of the film had been touching on comedic at points.

This made the film overall messy, and it kind of felt like too many things were trying to be crammed into one film. But onto the acting: Jimmy Stewart is in the niche of the roles he was typecast for - the idealistic, all American boy. These were the roles he was made for, the roles we love him best in, and so obviously he does well. Then there is Carole as his sympathetic wife and she is also lovely. This is probably the first drama I have seen the Queen of Screwball in, and though I do like her better in comedies, that isn't to say I didn't like her in this because I really did. She is quite adorable in the way she puts up with her annoying mother-in-law ("I won't say anything, I won't say anything, I won't say anything!" she mutters through gritted teeth) and playing the doting mother of their baby boy. 

As for the pairing of the two, I thought their chemistry was pretty good though they did not get many scenes to show it off. So it may be better put by saying, "Their chemistry had potential." Teensy tiny Carole (5'2) was about a head shorter than Jimmy Stewart which I found pretty funny. :) Then there was Charles Coburn as the Judge and I also thought he was quite good. He was a character you didn't like at first but by the end you'll be able to warm up to him.

The bottom line:
This movie's fault does not fall in the acting but in the plot. Had the ending not been so dragged out with such melodrama I think I would have been able to give this movie four stars. I wouldn't discourage you to watch it. if you are a big fan of Jimmy and Carole, or just want to see the two paired together, then go ahead and watch it; it's only an hour and a half. Disappointing towards the end but otherwise a nice sentimental film about a couple "made for each other" trying to scrimp and pinch to make things work for them.

Some photos:

Some trivia:
  • A special effects technician was killed when he fell from a 40 foot catwalk while trying to release balloons for the New Year's Eve party scene. I must say, he died in vain...
  • Both Carole and Jimmy would reprise these roles for the lovely Lux Radio Theatre, just not at the same time. Carole would in February of 1940 and Jimmy in December of 1945.
  • The melodramatic tragedy at the end of the movie was based on David O. Selznick's real life experiences with his critically ill brother. But was this really the right movie to add that into?
A movie tidbit:

You can watch the whole movie here


That's it for this week's SMR. I'm back to school tomorrow after four days of vacation for Thanksgiving :( Not to mention I have some pretty major standardized tests to take on Wednesday (which also happens to be Lucy and Desi's would be 71st wedding anniversary... (; ) But this week also marks the beginning of December and Christmastime. I can hardly wait! :D


Carmen said...

The truth is I didn't read the post because I haven't seen it. Actually, a week ago I started it but I only got 10 minutes into it because then I had to leave in a rush. I will see it soon and comment about it.

Maggie said...

I saw this movie in the dollar store a few years ago and I bought it because I love Jimmy Stewart and Carole Lombard and was excited to see them paired together. I'm ashamed to say I STILL haven't watched it but your review has inspired me to do so! The premise of this movie sounds very similar to the 1941 melodrama Penny Serenade with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. Guess you'd go through a whole box of tissues if you watched the two back to back!

And I am SO excited that it is the Christmas season! Though I've gotten a head start and have been listening to Christmas music and watching some Christmas movies for the past few weeks! :)

Clara Fercovic said...

I agree with you about the messy structure!! That's why I completely HATED this film, I know it has Coburn, Lomabard & Stewart, but it's so badly presented that I think they tried to merge two films into one. I hate when they wasted so much talent in mediocre movies.

Oh, I included this movie in "My Top 10 Average|Bad Movies with Terrific Actors", in case u want to read it.

Rianna said...

Carmen: Great, when you've seen it let me know what you think. :)

Maggie: I hope you'll watch it and tell me what you think of it. Yeah, it does slightly remind me of Penny Serenade. And they're both quite melodramatic. ;) I'm SO excited for Christmas too! I'm already in a really Christmasy mood. Christmastime is my very favorite time of they year! :)

Clara: The messy structure destroyed the film, honestly. And it could have been really good! Especially with Jimmy and Carole. Though I didn't completely hate it, it could've been much much better. I checked out your list (I really agree with you about Dance, Girl, Dance) and you're right about how until the end of their movie their problems weren't really THAT bad. I mean, they kept keeping maids, didn't they!

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