For Reel

Mama Steps Out (1937)
June 30, 2014, 6:19 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: George B. Seitz
3 Stars
Mama Steps OutA sort of comic retelling of the previous year’s Dodsworth, Mama Steps Out involves the dissatisfaction of an upper middle class housewife (Alice Brady) who is peeved to not be spending enough time around intellectuals on a European trip. Guy Kibbee plays her husband as his usual goofy, bombastic self, although this time he’s granted a little bit more dignity as the level-headed partner. There’s some comic value in the outrageous depiction of the Europeans that the couple does eventually meet–as is true in so many Hollywood films, there is nothing so promiscuous and sinful as a European amongst Americans–but by and large the picture is a minor diversion, elevated ever so slightly by the capable performers and the sharp-tongued Anita Loos as the screenwriter credited with adapting John Alexander Kirkpatrick’s play. The film features the second-ever screen appearance by “Stanley Morner”, who audiences would eventually come to know as Dennis Morgan. He has a musical number in the opening scene of the picture that shows his tremendous sex appeal and charisma–Jackson Rose’s camera is wildly fetishistic in its admiration of him. Like Morgan often did, however, he plays a rather bland love interest, with his pairing with Betty Furness dragging down the fun with its attempts to bring pathos to the farce.

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