For Reel

Maid’s Night Out (1938)
June 26, 2017, 10:59 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Ben Holmes
1.5 Stars
Maid's Night OutAfter her pairing with Fred Astaire in A Damsel in Distress lost the studio money, Joan Fontaine would be relegated to programmer pictures at RKO prior to her big breakthrough in Gunga Din. This screwball comedy demonstrates both the fact that RKO didn’t know how to use her and that Fontaine herself was uncomfortable with the genre. As strong as her dramatic chops would prove to be, this early outing shows her as utterly incapable as a comedic actress—she delivers every line (no matter the context) with a wide smile on her face, and her awkward forced bits of laughter happen with a frankly uncomfortable frequency. As the leading man, future cowboy star Allan Lane is amusingly miscast as an ictyologist who makes a deal with his father to work as a milkman for a short period of time. Although the film intends to demonstrate that the couple’s love goes beyond social class (they each fall for someone whom they believe is of the working class), their dual identities are so thinly sketched that the class tensions never come to a substantial boil.

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