November 18, 2009


Irene Dunne is an almost forgotten name to
today's movie audiences. Indeed, if she is
remembered at all it is through the Cary Grant
connection. For her contribution to Hollywood's
history is but a rumour, a whisper lost in the
winds of time. Is that fair?

"If one is not willing to yield to Irene Dunne's temperament, her talents, her reactions, following their detail almost to the loss of one's own identity, one will not know, and will not care, what the film is about." - Stanley Cavell

"She always knew how to put a man in her place, but at the same time leave him room to maneuver out of it." - Richard Schickel

I netflixed this, only to realize about 2 minutes in that I'd already seen it. But not for years, so I watched it. As it turns out, it really was the first Irene Dunne film that I'd seen! I didn't even remember her from the last time!

As much as I love Irene Dunne, Fred Astaire, and Ginger Rodgers, I have to say... I'm not really a huge fan of Randolph Scott. He's too... overbearing? It's hard to describe the feeling that I get from him.

For instance, there's a plot point where he and Irene are running Roberta's (dress shop) together and they're viewing all of the dresses in their Fall line. She says to him, "If there's anything that you don't like, just tell me." He responds with, "Oh, gee. I'm sure I'll like everything!" As the girls come out and model the dresses, they progressively become more and more horrific (in my eye). They are dripping with gaudy gold sequins and lace, with yards and yards of fabric layered one upon another. It's really quite terrifying. And then a girl comes out wearing something which (at the time) must have been quite revealing, just a simple sleeveless halter, floor-length dress. Something that you'd probably see at the Oscars nowadays. And he is shocked. No, not just shocked -
horrified. It was vulgar and tasteless - she would have been more appropriately dressed had she been naked! Irene then tries to alter the dress, raising the back, etc, but he just says, "No! Throw it out! I want it out!" So much for liking everything.

I think this old fashioned style of singing is an acquired taste for many, but Irene's voice is lovely.

If you've never seen Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance together, you must watch this.

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