For Reel

Gildersleeve’s Bad Day (1943)
July 27, 2015, 11:53 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Gordon Douglas
3.5 Stars
Gildersleeve's Bad DayThe second installment in a series of filmed adaptations of the long-running radio program The Great Gildersleeve, Gildersleeve’s Bad Day is an improvement over its predecessor. Harold Peary returns as Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, the pompous, bloviating dunce who in this installment is thrilled to be called for jury duty. Believing himself to be well-versed in the law, Gildersleeve becomes responsible for a hung jury in a case that everyone else perceives as being fairly cut-and-dried. Unbeknownst to him, it is assumed that he has taken a bribe by a pair of crooks who wish to get their associate out of his conviction. The first film featured little in the way of plot–there was a loose through-line in the suggestion of a marriage proposal, but it mostly felt like a series of small ideas cobbled together. This installment creates a better mounting tension, with Gildersleeve getting deeper into trouble as his family (including Nancy Gates and Freddie Mercer as his niece and nephew) attempts to bail him out. Peary, again, proves to be an acquired taste, but he’s more palatable when the root of the comedy involves others reacting to his quirks, unlike his mediocre attempts at very gestural screwball gags in the first installment.

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