07 July 2008

Stink, Stank, Stunk

Yesterday I was going to write about why I see so few movies that I ultimately dislike. I was going to point out how smart I am for carefully choosing what movies I'm going to watch whether on DVD, at the theater or on TCM. And I was going to add that this doesn't even take into account the fact that I often watch movies I've seen before and love. Would have been really ironic if I'd written that but I never got around to it. Because you see, I saw a real stinker last night.

No Time for Comedy (1940). How can you go wrong when the movie stars Jimmy Stewart and Rosalind Russell? How about if you have a terrible script and awkward direction? For the first twenty minutes of the film Stewart played a perfectly likable bloke and for the ensuing 75 minutes he was a complete jerk. The transformation was largely unexplained. Indeed, this character and his actions were nonsensical. Meanwhile, Russell played a perfectly empty character whose motivations were also inexplicable or nonsensical. What a waste of talent.

TCM's Robert Osborne introduced the film. I love Osborne. But for the love of god he should have warned us somehow! A hand signal, a wink, anything to suggest that we were about to waste 93 minutes. The movie concerns a...oh why bother. The premise isn't all that interesting and the execution was pathetic.

Just prior to this disaster Stewart had appeared in: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Destry Rides Again, The Shop Around the Corner, and The Mortal Storm. Immediately after he won an Oscar for The Philadelphia Story. So it figures he had to be in one clinker among those gems. Russell does not have quite the same excuse although she had been in His Girl Friday a few pictures before.

According to Osborne the two stars dated briefly during the production of No Time For Comedy. I'm glad somebody got something out of the experience.

Oh and another thing. There was an African American who actually got to play an actress at the beginning of the movie. In the second half of the film she had mysteriously left acting and became a...brace yourself...maid!

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