Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hard to Get (1938)


“Ah, your little games beginning to backfire on you?”

            Maggie Richards (Olivia de Havilland) is a rich spoiled young woman. Her mother and younger sister are leaving for vacation in Connecticut. Maggie does not want to go she wants to stay in the city. Her mother and sister are a terrible annoyance. The mother calls for the father. The father puts in foot down a few minutes that neither he nor Maggie will be joining them on vacation. But it is not long before the father lets the mother walk all over him and makes him tell Maggie she must go. In a fit Maggie races out of the out of the house and jumps in her chauffer’s car and leaves.
            Maggie comes to a gas station to fill up the car. She does not have any money on her so she asks the attendant to put the payment on credit and send the bill to her father. The owner of the station Bill Davis (Dick Powell) comes out. He does not believe a word Maggie says because she does not have any ID on her. She tries to get away but winds up backing up into a truck. Maggie gets out of the car to argue some more but Bill picks her up and carries her into one of the stop’s motel rooms to make her clean to repay her debt. Again Maggie tries to run away this time by jumping out one of the windows but  Bill catches her trying to go out. Eventually Maggie cleans all the rooms and goes home. As soon as she gets home she tells her father what happened to her and wants Bill fired since the station uses oil from the company the father owns. Much to Maggie’s displeasure her father sides with Bill on his course of action to make Maggie pay. He feels his daughter has been too sheltered and has had everything taken care of for her. She has to work this problem out for herself.
            The next day Maggie goes back to the station. She flirts with Bill and lets go of trying to tell him she is rich. He asks her to go out with him sometime maybe later that night thinking she works at night. She lets him think that and agrees to go out with him. On their date Maggie keeps giving Bill her Fifth Avenue address but quickly comes up with the story that she works as a maid in the house. At dinner Bill tells her that he wants to open up a chain of gas stations with motels across the country. Maggie comes up with the idea to ask her “employer” Mr. Richards. She gives Bill a nickname she said she has overheard people calling him as a way of getting in to see him without an appointment.
            Bill goes to see Mr. Richards with his plans the following day. He gets into the office pretty smoothly but the meeting does not go as Bill had hoped it would. As Bill is trying to tell Mr. Richards of his plans the rich man does not listen and goes on trying to wrestle his butler (throughout the film Mr. Richards and the butler play sports and other games and bet for money. He usually winds up losing). Mr. Richards sends Bill over to someone else named Atwater jut to get rid of him. Atwater and some of his employees give Bill a hard time. But Bill is determined and keeps going back to Atwater until he is heard.
            Bill goes back to Mr. Richards to say that he could not get in to see Mr. Atwater. He asks Bill where he heard his nickname from in the first place. Bill replies that his (Mr. Richard’s) maid Maggie told him. He knows his daughter set up the whole meeting and has Bill come over for dinner that night. Maggie dresses up as the maid and the actual maid, Hattie, to be the daughter. After dinner Maggie and Bill go out to Central Park for a boat ride and of, course, she really falls in love with him. When Maggie gets home she tells her father that she loves Bill and what she should do. He advises his daughter to tell Bill the truth.
            At Atwater’s office, Bill overhears there will be a party at Atwater’s apartment that night and sees that as his way in to show his plans. He finds Atwater, along with Mr. Richards and a few other men, in a room and they are all talking about him. Maggie walks in the room. He is upset about everything and walks out leaving his plans behind. Mr. Richards and Atwater see something in Bill’s plans. Now both rich business men are interested in Bill’s plans.
            The days and weeks go on. Bill lost his job at the gas station since he was always in the city and now has a new job as a riveter. Since their tactics are not working on an individual level, Mr. Richards and Atwater partner up and come to terms with Bill over his chain of gas stations. He agrees to their terms just as long as he never has to see Maggie again. Bill begins working on his new plans on the station he previously worked for. Maggie comes by to try to apologize. She brings her father along as well as a judge to marry them. At first Bill does not want to marry Maggie until her mother and sister come and create a giant fuss. They get married to make her mother furious. Maggie and Bill really do love each other and get married inside a motel room to keep the mother out.

            Hard to Get was alright. I always love seeing Olivia de Havilland in comedy movies since I am so used to seeing her in dramas. The woman really could play any kind of part and be fantastic. Dick Powell is underrated he was also very good at comedy and in the films I have seen him in he never went over the top with his comedy he played it just right. Hard to Get is not the best from either actor. I only suggest watching Hard to Get if you are a fan of either Olivia de Havilland or Dick Powell.