Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bedtime Story (1941)


I always like seeing an actor or actress in a type of film I am not used to seeing them in like a dramatic actress in a comedy or a comedic actor in a drama. Usually it is the first I like where an actor or actress who usually does dramatic films or these days TV shows and then they make a comedy. For example, years and years ago when Alias was still on TV I could not believe that Jennifer Garner was going to be in a comedy film where she had to be light and silly. Then I saw 13 Going on 30 twice its opening weekend and I worried about how I would watch her in Alias that weekend I was so used to seeing her nice! (but if you are an Alias fanatic like myself you will have seen the bloopers and apparently the cast was silly more so than serious).
            You must be thinking what on earth does this have to do with a film from 1941? In Bedtime Stories Loretta Young plays a flustered stage actress named Jane Drake. Up until this point I had only ever seen Young in serious films including two silent ones. I had not seen her in a comedy.
            Jane and Luke Drake (Fredric March) are husband and wife theaters actors. One night Jane was saying thank you to the audience and wanted Luke on the stage with her but he is nowhere to be found. He is not even at their house when Jane arrives home. When Jane arrives home she is tired. She and Luke have been performing for seven years non-stop and they both want a break. Or so Jane believes.
            Luke has started writing a play and wants Jane to play the lead. He even bought a theater by selling the farm house they had planned to relax at. When Jane finds out her husband’s planes she is furious with him. She did not want to do another play she wanted to go away with Luke and relax. Jane goes to Reno for a divorce. Luke is upset that Jane is getting a divorce from him but he still wants her to star in his play he wrote it for her. Luke tells a columnist that he is heartbroken about the divorce and he wants to shut the play down. This is the beginning of his plan to get Jane to come back. Fortunately it works. Jane comes back and there is no divorce.
            When Jane comes come she has Luke promise not to work on the play and to spend time with her. She figures he is working on his script because a drawer in his desk is locked. To prove he is not lying (when he in fact really is) he tells her he will break the desk. Jane believes Luke and stops him from breaking the desk. Their manager Eddie comes in with a girl for the show. Eddie makes it look like the girl is for him. After a few minutes of looking at the girl Jane knows the show is still going on. To top her frustration off a set designer walks in. Jane leaves again and does make it to Reno.
            Luke goes out to Reno. Jane asks him if he is going to give up the theater. He tells her no it is in both of them. He hands Jane the script and says he will not do anything without her approval. When Jane returns home she reads in the paper that an actress named Virginia Cole (Eve Arden) has been chosen as the lead actress in Luke’s play. Jane is upset mostly because Virginia is a comedic stage actress. Virginia goes to Luke’s office. She just read she is going to be in the play. He tells Virginia he set the news up to get Jane to agree to play the part because she hates parts that are miscast. Jane then comes into the office. Luke is ready for her to fight for the role. Jane just stopped by to tell him that she is selling her furniture in the house.
            Jane is marrying their banker William. Luke sees the marriage in the paper as he was walking out of the theater. He hears from a cop that a speakeasy is going to be raided that night. Luke calls William telling him to meet at the speakeasy. Luke also has Jane come to the theater to see some of the show performed. During the performance Luke tells Virginia she is not good. Jane defends her and he asks her to show Virginia how to play the part. Jane performs the part. Virginia pretends to throw a fit and be upset. Now there is no one for the lead. Luke walks Jane across the street from the theater to show her the marquee. He has named the theater after her. She decides to do the show temporarily until an actress can be found. Luke’s entire plan falls apart when the police officer tells them a banker was arrested in the raid.
            The next day Luke goes to Jane’s apartment to apologize for what he did to William. The maid and the butler are upset and crying because Jane and William have gotten married. Luke gets the idea to hire some actors to pretend to be lawyers to present Jane with legal action saying she is most likely still married to him and her marriage to William is illegal. They say that Jane went to Reno but did not say long enough for a divorce since she came back to town. Jane is not happy with William. She is hoping there will be an issue with them being married.
            Eventually Luke gets Jane back and she acts in his play.
            Fredric March and Loretta Young were fabulous together. I liked seeing Loretta Young in a comedy. Like Irene Dunne, Young always seemed to be such a lady that to see her silly in a film was so funny because you are not used to her acting in this type of film. I know she was in others later in the forties which I cannot wait to see after watching Bedtime Story. Fredric March was so versatile he seemed to slip from dramas to comedies with ease. Even though Young and March did a great job in their roles you can see they were a little uncomfortable stepping out of their typical roles in certain scenes. Eve Arden nearly steals the film with one scene. When her character pretends to be upset about being let go from the play she says she will into burlesque and gives a thrust. I was dying and if you have ever seen Eve Arden in a film you do not even need to have watched the scene to know she was hysterical in it and how she delivered the lines.
            Bedtime Story is a very cute film even if it is a bit clichéd. The ending made me do a forehead slap it was so typical. Besides the clichéd story and predictable ending Bedtime Story is worth watching for the cast.