Friday, June 17, 2011

Lucky Partners (1940)


Good Luck!

            Lucky Partners has a cute premise: a man walking along one morning wishes his neighbor good luck. The two do not know each other he just says the term out of kindness. That day the girl has a lot of luck. Pushing her luck so to speak she plays a sweepstakes but she wants to go in on it with the man just so she knows she is not going crazy.
            The man is David Grant (Ronald Colman). He is a nice charming older man who lives across the street from a book store. He wishes Jean Newton (Ginger Rogers) good luck who just so happens to work in the book shop with her Aunt Lucy (Spring Byington). The deal is if they win Jean takes her half so she can get married to her fiancé Freddie (Jack Carson). David wants to take Jean on a proper honeymoon which will be strictly platonic. He can see that she is not really into the idea of marrying Freddie so he wants to give her a nice time before she just settles.  
            Like most classic Hollywood romantic comedies it is a case of boy meets girl, boy gets girl, then boy loses girl over some misunderstanding, and then before the end boy gets girl back. The film started off well but by the middle when Jean and David go on their platonic honeymoon it gets a bit boring. Colman and Rogers work well together. If you just look at their characters being friends and not really lovers the age difference is not a big deal- Rogers was twenty-nine and just coming off of her films with Fred Astaire and into many of her best films of the forties and Colman was forty-eight years old. The end of the film I found a mess. Somehow all three characters, David, Jean, and Freddie wind up in court. I pretty much hate courtroom scenes in comedies (and almost all films for that matter) because I think they are annoying and sloppy. To end a film and get the characters back in each other’s graces in a courtroom is just not my cup of tea.

            The acting was not that bad. Rogers I felt was holding back. She was cute and as always had perfect facial expressions but there was something missing with her character (maybe there was just something missing with the whole film). Maybe it was the fact that she was supposed to have some kind of feelings towards David. That could even be the problem with Colman and his character. I had never seen Colman in a film before Lucky Partners but I really liked him. He was such a gentleman with a great speaking voice. I have got to say I would love to find a man today who was a gentleman like he was and knew how to be polite with women (can I name this want as the “William Powell Syndrome”? Ever since I started watching The Thin Man and became a fan of Powell I wish I could meet a gentleman like him or any other classic actor similar to him). Jack Carson I can always take or leave him. He was a character actor who usually plays the same kind of tough guy who is being taken for granted and wants to fight someone off. Gone With the Wind fans may get a kick out of seeing Harry Davenport aka Dr. Meade as the judge at the end.
            Lucky Partners is not a bad film. The whole time though with Ginger Rogers I kept thinking of her as Roxie Hart for some reason and that film was not made until the following year in 1941. Especially in the courtroom scene I just wanted her to start chewing her gum and be silly (I probably started thinking of Roxie Hart when Rogers said “certainly” almost like she did in Roxie which never fails to make me laugh hysterically. Also Spring Byinton was in Roxie as well that could also be why). As I said there is something missing with this film. Rogers seemed to be holding back which I felt if she had not that the something that was missing would have been there. The plot is cute at the beginning but it gets lost by the middle.
            Suggestion: watch Lucky Partners if you like Ginger Rogers or Ronald Colman. Other than Rogers and Colman, David might as well have been saying “good luck” to us as the audience as we sit through the film.