Saturday, May 31, 2014

It's a Date (1940)

There is no type of story more annoying to me than when two women who are friends or are civil to each other are pitted against each other or they butt heads for whatever stupid reason can be thought of. There is no reason for that. Yes, women can be morons and best friends can become jealous of each other (I am speaking as a woman here) but that does not happen all the time. I can tell you for a fact that my friends and are would never do that to each other we would never be jealous of each other over stupid stuff. We have the temperament of men we are lazy and like to eat and watch movies all day. Anyway… when stories in films and TV shows pit two women against each other that are friends or are civil it makes my blood boil. I can think of when CSI pit their two female characters against each other in one episode when the series first started and the actresses told the writers they never want that to happen again (really, really good show to watch where the two female characters actually get along and help each other is Leverage. They were two totally different characters with totally different temperaments, personalities, and jobs within the group that they got along great they were friends there was never a need for them to butt heads). For the 1940 film It’s a Date the two female leads that are pitted against each other are a mother and her daughter in their feelings for the same man.
            Georgia Drake (Kay Francis) is a famous stage star. Her young daughter Pam (Deanna Durbin) wants to be a dramatic stage star like her. Pam comes down from school to see her mother’s final performance in a show. Georgia has a closing night party at their place. Pam and her friend try to get the attention of all the theatrical people there.
            Georgia’s manager Sidney brings a playwright named Karl Ober to the party. Ober has never had a play of his run in America and he is thinking about bringing his newest play St. Anne to the States. Sidney thinks Georgia will be perfect for the part but Ober says the part is for a young girl not an older woman. Pam wants a part in what she believes will be her mother’s next show. The part is small but she wants to do it badly. She also wants Sidney to come up to her school and direct a play. Sidney does not really want to do so Pam turns on the works and gets over dramatic to make him change his mind. After her performance Ober thinks Pam might be a good St. Anne. Sidney thinks it would be a good idea if they go up to Maine where Pam goes to school to see her acting abilities.
            Sidney comes up to the school and suggests to the students in the play that they should do a scene from Ober’s new play. Pam, of course, plays the lead and she does a great job. Sidney wants to give her the lead but Ober is still a little bit unsure. Sidney tells Pam she got the part of St. Anne and wants her to work constantly and he will work her until she cannot work anymore. Pam decides that in order to learn the part and only focus on that she will need the help of her mother who at the time is down in Hawaii on vacation as well as working on her lines for St. Anne which she thinks she has the role of.
            On the ship Pam runs her lines and nothing else. A man named John Arlen (Walter Pidgeon) sees her not knowing that she is reciting lines he thinks she is unhappy. John is friends with the captain and the two of them decide to try to make Pam happy. John plays a trick on her making her think he is a stowaway. Unfortunately the joke backfires with Pam thinking he is really a stowaway for the next few days. To end the joke John tells the captain to send around some his men to check the lifeboats. Thinking that John will get into trouble Pam throws herself overboard to create a distraction. John jumps to save her. Pam finds out the joke when they are pulled back on board and she is not happy with him at all.
            John wants to try to make things right with Pam. He still thinks she is unhappy since he heard her running the lines from the play. He eventually does get the girl to laugh when they are at dinner. While coming off the ship when it has docked, John bumps into Georgia who is coming on to find Pam. Pam tells her mother that she has had a shipboard romance which worries her mother to no end.
            At the house Pam starts going over her lines and then Georgia picks up the line. Mother and daughter have no idea they were both going for the same part. Pam tells her mother that she has been cast in a new play and tries to make a story up off the top of her head. A call comes in for Georgia but Pam gets to get. It is about a cable from Sidney who has to talk to her about the part of St. Anne before Pam can get down there and that he will call her that night. Pam lies to her mother that she has set a dinner engagement with the man she met on the ship and wants her to come along to meet him. It takes some time before Georgia agrees to go. Then Pam has to go to John and convince him to go out to dinner and he is convinced. In the middle of dinner Pam slips out to get to Sidney’s call. She tries to talk the manager into giving the part to her mother since she really wants it. Sidney tells the girl that Ober wants her for the role he wants someone younger not her mother who is older and not who he wants for the role. Sidney tells her that he and Ober are coming down in a few days.
            Some time later, John takes both Georgia and Pam out to dinner. He takes turns paying attention to both women talking to them and dancing with them. They both seem jealous when they are not getting John attention. John tells Georgia’s mother that he wants to marry her not Pam. The mother is very happy she was worried about Pam’s ideas of him marrying her. Pam wants to propose to John but he never gives her the chance. He invites both women to a party at the governor’s house. He plans to propose to Georgia there if he can get her alone. John has the governor ask Pam to sing a song so he and Georgia can be alone. The plan does not go as it should have but Pam does make it onto the stage and John and Georgia have their time alone. She accepts his proposal even though both of them know that Pam will be devastated. Georgia decides to give up Broadway for a while and suggests to Sidney that Pam should have the role of St. Anne.
            Pam is not happy at all that her mother and John are marrying each other. She goes into a tirade at the party. When she storms out Ober says she will be perfect as St. Anne. Georgia and John go see Pam on her opening night of the show.

            It’s a Date was not that good. I did like Deanna Durbin she was a very good actress but I did not like her character at all. She was a bit of a bitch to her mother. Kay Francis was great I always like seeing her in films. Unfortunately at this time her career was not as hot as it used to be and she was relegated to second rate parts. Walter Pidgeon was good I liked him with Kay Francis. I hated the storyline of a daughter being pitted against her mother for a part as well as a man. The whole romantic idea of a mother and daughter liking the same man is not romantic and it was not even funny or well thought out it was just weird. The daughter did not deserve anything but Deanna Durbin was Universal’s biggest money maker so of course she had a happy ending as well. It’s a Date is a classic film to skip unless you are a fan of either Deanna Durbin, Kay Francis, or Walter Pidgeon.