For Reel

Woman Wanted (1935)
December 15, 2013, 12:32 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: George B. Seitz
3 Stars
Woman WantedJoel McCrea found stardom at RKO in the early 1930s, but it wasn’t until his films with Preston Sturges in the 1940s that he really established himself as a top-tier actor. Often playing a droll romantic sap early in his career, McCrea was typically overshadowed by the women he was starring with, including such luminaries as Constance Bennett and Miriam Hopkins. On loan to MGM in 1935, Woman Wanted gave audiences a bigger taste of McCrea’s penchant for fast-talking and silliness than ever before. The picture is a rather conventional, over-written crime drama in which lawyer McCrea helps a wrongly convicted woman (Maureen O’Sullivan) escape from both the cops and the thugs pursuing her. At its best, the film indulges in screwball moments–when McCrea and O’Sullivan are laying low in the countryside, one will undoubtedly recall It Happened One Night (one particularly funny sequence includes a newly flirtatious McCrea drunk driving). The convoluted plot occasionally stands in the way of the performers, however, and although director George B. Seitz moves things along rapidly, it tends to drag due to the lackluster crime element. Seitz would be most famous for directing many of the Andy Hardy pictures, and here he shows a tremendous ability to capture the loquacious rhythms of a city by moving from one conversation to the next with a simple tracking shot or pan.

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