Friday, 15 November 2013

NEVER A DULL MOMENT (1950) WEB SITE


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  • Production Credits

  • Director - George Marshall
  • Screenwriter - Lou Breslow
  • Screenwriter - Doris Anderson
  • Art Director - Albert S. D'Agostino
  • Composer (Music Score) - Frederick Hollander
  • Costume Designer - Travis Banton
  • Editor - Robert Swink
  • Musical Direction/Supervision - Constantin Bakaleinikoff
  • Set Designer - Darrell Silvera
  • Sound/Sound Designer - Phil Brigandi
  • Art Director - Walter E. Keller

Cats Credits

  • Irene Dunne - Kay 
  • Fred MacMurray - Chris
  • William Demarest - Mears
  • Andy Devine - Orvie
  • Natalie Wood - Nan
  • Philip Ober - Jed
  • Jack Kirkwood - Papa Dude
  • Ann Doran - Jean
  • Irving Bacon - Tunk Johnson
  • George Leigh - Fred Van Elson
  • Jo Ann Marlowe - Sister
  • Virginia Mullen
  • Paul Newlan - Hunter
  • Anne O'Neal - Julia Craddock
  • Gigi Perreau - Tina
  • Ralph Peters - Gabe
  • Harry Tyler - Klinger
  • Robert Thom - Vendor

Irene Dunne is one of my favorite actresses and one of America's all-time greats. She is typically marvelous in this film. Fred MacMurray is likewise a real personal favorite. Together this wonderful, talented duo create two likable, sympathetic characters that you root for and that you want to find happiness together. Of course, it is never in doubt that they will end up together, but the complications along the way are made much more enjoyable and the slapstick is boosted beyond the ordinary because of the great personal charm and fantastic timing of these two leads. Irene Dunne, in particular, is one of the masters of comic timing.

Natalie Wood and Gigi Perreau both portray their characters very credibly. Their enthusiasm over the wrist watches that Dunne gives them is also a neat reflection of the simpler values and expectations and the more modest means of that time. They have some cute dialog. In her youth Wood may have been cuter, but seldom as realistic as in this role. Perreau may be remembered best as the young Lark in Enchantment, with David Niven.

The clever repartee between Dunne and William Demarest when she first arrives at the ranch is classic 30's and 40's script writing. The scene when MacMurray's cronies wake him up at 5 a.m. to go cougar hunting and then all make themselves at home in his bedroom on the double bed with Dunne is also a load of fun. (Please note that this was still in the double bed era of film-making, which is also something I kind of watch for.) The running gag about the dog is a lot of fun, too.

One aspect of this movie seems to get overlooked. It provides a glimpse of life among working people in rural (and even small town) America that is not too distant in time, but is all but forgotten. Those people had to work a great deal harder at life than we do today. Cooking and washing were real chores. Life on a ranch was especially difficult. Besides the opportunities for slapstick humor, these chores provide us a glimpse of that hard life that people lived not so long ago. When MacMurray comes home late one night after butchering a steer, he is beat. His weariness is palpable. The scene is full of warmth between the characters, and it reflects real understanding of that hard life.

This film offers both slapstick and great comic dialog. However, it also provides endearing characters in situations with just enough real-life type conflict to make this romantic comedy very charming and poignant. In the hands of a lesser cast, this movie might have been very ordinary, but because of Dunne and MacMurray it is a real delight. I regard this as one of the last of the screwball comedies - and a very good one. I have tried to find it on DVD.

PS - Irene Dunne's last film appearance was in It Grows on Trees (1952), a wonderful and quirky modern day (1950's) fairy tale. It is very rare, and utterly delightful. But if you don't like this film, you probably should not bother with it.

 CRITICA EN EL PERIÓDICO "LA VANGUARDIA" (23-9-1951)
Situada exactamente en el punto entremedio de la trayectoria creativa que acostumbra seguir el cine americano en sus comedias mas típicas, esta película se ciñe fielmente a las leyes inconmovibles del género, y pespunteando la anécdota de situaciones graciosas, de mucho sentido cinematográfico, de momentos primorosamente preparados, repite en lo esencial y en buena parte de lo accesorio los elementos humanos y ambientales conocidos a través de varias producciones análogas. La novedad de "Que vida Esta" es algo, pues, muy relativo; sin embargo es oportuno concretar que la ambición más caramente defiende la película va a un milímetro más allá de un laudable propósito de entretener, y dado que lo consigue con frecuencia, entendemos que era el de la diversión, pueden ser disculpadas las fisuras que aparecen de vez en vez, sobre todo en lo que se refiere al ritmo desigual de la cinta, una vivaz y alegre otra lenta y discreta, empeñado en dilatar una historieta entre sentimental y cómica que no permite demasiados artificios y circunloquios. transcurre la acción del filme en un desvencijado rancho americano, al que va a parar una distinguida compositora de música moderna, casada con un sencillo y a las veces rudo vaquero. Los tremendos conflictos caseros que debe resolver la improvisada "cow-girl", y la expresión incrementada súbitamente su familia con dos hijas del anterior matrimonio de su esposo, constituyen el punto de partida y la justificación de toda la película. Como podrá observar el lector, existen precedentes concretos de este asunto comediografico tan del gusto del cine americano. No obstante, ello no impide para que "Que vida Esta" disponga de resortes hilarantes de eficacia y ofrezca varios atractivos, entre ellos, una interpretación muy graciosa de Irene Dunne, que triunfa valerosamente de un papel al margen de sus habituales interpretaciones, acompañada de Fred Mac Murray, de Andy Devine "ambos sin moverse ni un ápice de sus maneras peculiares" y de ese par de chiquillas que son Natalie Wood y Gigi Perreau. H. S. G.