For Reel

Wide Open (1930)
March 30, 2016, 4:38 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Archie Mayo
3 Stars
Wide OpenThose familiar with Edward Everett Horton in films like Holiday or the Astaire & Rogers vehicles will be delighted to see the usual supporting actor take on a rare leading role in Wide Open. His character is not too far removed from those that he played in 1930s comedies—he’s hapless and exasperated, finding himself in various situations that lead to his embarrassment. Wide Open expands the potential of this type by suggesting the wholesomeness of it. If Horton will amusingly steam with frustration as he continues to have the rug pulled out from underneath him, the desperation for a laugh eventually gives way to something that aspires for audience empathy, if only to celebrate his very perseverance. Moreover, while Horton is usually characterized as sexless, here he is equally virginal but still nonetheless a bachelor who, shortly into the film, turns red in the face as a beautiful young woman (Patsy Ruth Miller) finds herself half naked in his apartment. Horton and Miller have a likeable chemistry together, and there is a party sequence that includes a memorable interpretation of “Nobody Cares If I’m Blue” (sung with an appropriate drunken desperation by Louise Fazenda). Without Horton as the lead, Wide Open would be a forgettable entertainment, but fans of the actor will take an added interest in the material.

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