For Reel

Bedtime Story (1941)
December 10, 2014, 4:32 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Alexander Hall
2.5 Stars
Bedtime StoryThe climactic sequence of Bedtime Story is a screwball homage to the Marx Brothers’ classic A Night at the Opera. Attempting to interrupt his ex-wife (Loretta Young) and her new husband (Allyn Joslyn), Luke Drake (Fredric March) invites a cast of characters into their hotel room, culminating with an over-crowded, riotous frenzy. It’s an amusing visual, but it doesn’t really play. Perhaps the key reason is that March simply isn’t Cary Grant. Although he showed some comedic abilities in his career (Design for Living is one of the great comedies of the 1930s), in this instance he’s a stretch. His timing is off, he’s not a particularly reactionary performer, and in the end the man wrought to be selfish but likable only conveys the former. Similarly, Young is cast in a role better suited for Irene Dunne, Rosalind Russell, or any of the other great comediennes of the time who could deliver a barbed entendre with ease. Only Joslyn seems capable in this context, with a dependably hilarious performance as the other man. In his late scenes with Young, he plays his character as an over-eager man child, overwhelming his bride with a hilariously libidinous enthusiasm.

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