For Reel

Skylark (1941)
February 28, 2015, 9:53 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Mark Sandrich
3.5 Stars
SkylarkA forgotten example of a remarriage comedy from the early 1940s, Skylark casts the likable pair of Claudette Colbert and Ray Milland as a married couple who separates shortly after their fifth wedding anniversary because it has become clear that he’s more focused on his job than on her. When a debonaire, shamelessly home-wrecking bachelor gets involved (Brian Aherne) and offers her the attention that she lacks, she is drawn away from her husband, who becomes harshly aware of his neglectful ways. Although many of these comedies involved sharp, acerbic dialogue between the sexes and generally carry a lighter tone, Skylark is strangely melancholic. Milland’s penchant for ignoring his wife early on is treated as a gag, but Colbert’s response evokes a lot of audience sympathy. She doesn’t seem like she is engaged in the familiar sparring match that occurs in the battle of the sexes, rather like she’s being beat down by a repressive marriage. Aherne’s slimy distraction is no consolation for those wishing that she had a romantic partner more deserving of her. Zion Myer’s adaptation (the source material is a play and novel penned by Samson Raphaelson) indulges the relatively dramatic tone by speaking openly about gender, marriage, and expectations, including a remarkably unique scene in which the passengers on a train comment on the couple’s dissolving marriage.

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