Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)

“I’ve never been subjected to so much charm before.”

            A few summers ago I spent a few days with my aunt and great-grandma. My great-grandmother will be ninety-eight in a few weeks. One of the greatest loves of my great-grandmother’s life is Cary Grant. A few years ago she told me she would do a handstand if the man asked her to! Anyway, when I spent those few days with her she let me borrow some of Cary Grant’s films and one of them was The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer. I remember I was not too crazy about the film because of Shirley Temple and I had no idea who Myrna Loy was. Well, now I appreciate classic films more and I ADORE Myrna Loy so I had to watch The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer again.
            Susan Turner (Temple) is a seventeen year old girl. She lives with her older sister Margaret (Loy) who runs the house and Susan’s life like a tight ship. Margaret is very no nonsense and very strict with her free spirited sister. That probably has something to do with the fact that Margaret is also a no nonsense lawyer from a family of lawyers. Their Uncle Matthew is a court psychologist. He gets on Margaret’s case about needing to have a man around the house as a firm hand for Susan after she complains about her sister.
            That morning Margaret tries a case against Richard Nugent (Grant). At the beginning Richard is not in the courtroom because he has been let out on bail. The case against him is for being a public nuisance when he started a big fight. Richard eventually shows up. He and his lawyer tells Margaret that he is an artist of American life and he occasionally gets into some altercations about this. Margaret throws the case out because everyone played a part and tells Richard that if he comes into her courtroom again she will not be so lenient.
            At school Susan is asked by her male friend Terry is she wants to go out that weekend. She does not want to and Terry says that he cannot compete because she is looking for a knight in shining armor. Richard is giving a talk at Susan’s school about art. All the girls, including Susan, clap louder when they see him. Susan cannot help but stare and think he is handsome all during the lecture. At one point she actually sees Richard as her knight in shining armor. To get Richard to speak to her Susan tells him she is the editor of the school newspaper. She asks him if he is married and if he has ever been in love. He responds with a rather dramatic story of his life and she is enraptured. Susan asks him if he would paint her. He tries to go around the subject and practically leaps when she tells him her last name is Turner and that Margaret wants her to go into law as well.
            At home Margaret sees Susan looking at art and asks who spoke at the school. Susan tells her sister that Richard was the speaker. Margaret flips out especially because he is always in the court and also because Susan thinks she is going to pose for him. That night Susan sneaks into Richard’s apartment when he is not there and waits for him. When Margaret gets home she is worried about her sister not being home. She realizes that Susan is at Richard’s after she thinks about their argument that day. Richard is of course surprised to see Susan at his place. Just when he realizes Susan is on his couch Margaret and the DA she is friends with, come crashing through the door.
              Richard is arrested for hitting the DA. Uncle Matthew goes to see Richard in jail. He agrees with Richard that Margaret needs to be brought down a peg and thinks this is something for Susan to learn from as well. Susan tried to see Richard in jail and she is brought to Margaret’s office by a police officer. She whines about how she loves Richard and just wanted to see him. Instead of pressing charges for being with Susan, Margaret wants Richard to go out with Susan until she gets over him.
            Well, that is easier than done for Richard. He tries everything to get Susan not to like him. One night he speaks with Margaret and after their talk she begins to like him herself. At a picnic she roots for Richard when he participates in some games and when he wins one she even sees him as a knight in shining armor.     I am sure you can guess that Margaret and Richard wind up together.
            I love Cary Grant and Myrna Loy together. This was one of three films they made together the other two being Wings in the Dark and Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. Both of them looked great together and they were both so wonderfully talented. I wish they had made more films together. Their last scene in the film is so adorable. Loy gives Grant a kind of evil stare and then she says “You remind me of a man” and they go into this whole joke that was played in the film.  As much as I adore Loy her acting was as good as it could have been. She seems a little wooden. She did have a good scene when Margaret gets all flustered when she figures out she likes Richard too and she starts talking in a high voice. When I first watched The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer I can remember thinking “who the hell is this actress I have never heard of her and she isn’t even that pretty and her acting isn’t even that great.” If only I could have known then that I would eventually become massively obsessed with Myrna Loy! (I think Myrna Loy is very pretty and if you read any of my posts of any of her films I have seen you will see that I think she is an incredible actress).I have always hated Shirley Temple ever since I was a little kid (my grandma tells me I used say “I hate that Shirley Temples” haha). I am sure it was a combination of hating her and the character that I could not stand seeing her face. Loy wrote in her autobiography that Temple was a pain when filming had begun and she called Temple out for not cooperating. Sometime later Loy received flowers from Temple as an apology.

            I liked The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer more this time around. I understand the story and appreciate the actors (besides Shirley Temple!) more than I did. I do not believe, however, that this is one of Cary Grant’s or Myrna Loy’s best films. It is cute and it is fun but they made better films either together or individually. The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer is a classic comedy definitely worth seeing.