Monday, September 3, 2012

One Sunday Afternoon (1933)

“How'd you know my name's Virginia?”
“That's for me to know and you to find out.”

One Sunday Afternoon has been remade two times. The first time as The Strawberry Blonde at Warner Bros. in 1942 with Rita Hayworth as the strawberry blonde, Olivia de Havilland and James Cagney. The second time was with the same title as the original in 1948 with Dennis Morgan taking place in a modern setting instead of at the turn of the century. Each film has their own variation of the story and the characters. The 1933 version with Gary Cooper and Fay Wray in the leads of which I am reviewing is funny but more serious than anything else. The Strawberry Blonde is my favorite version because it is really funny and sweet.
            The story begins in the present. Biff Grimes (Cooper)is a dentist. He and he friend Snappy are in his office. Biff has not really been working on Snappy’s teeth the two of them have really been drinking and talking about old time. Snappy mentions a girl named Virginia (Wray). He tells Biff that he should have been the one to marry Virginia not Hugo Barnstead. The telephone rings. It is a call from the local hotel one of their guests has a toothache and needs the tooth pulled. At first Biff declines saying that he does not pull teeth on Sundays unless it is a child that needs it done but once he finds out that the person who needs the tooth pulled is Hugo Barnstead he tells the hotel worker to send him right over. Hugo and Biff exchange pleasantries when the man first arrives. Biff makes Snappy stay to see Hugo go under gas. As Hugo goes under Biff plans to kill him. Snappy says again that Biff should have been the one to marry Virginia and Biff flashes back to when he first met her.
            Biff and Hugo were once friends. The two friends were to meet these two girls Virginia and her friend Amy in the park. Amy mentions that the last boy she liked was Biff Grimes when they were little. Virginia is appalled to heard that Amy liked Biff he was always a no good kid. When Biff first sees Virginia he cannot take his eyes off of her. Hugo does all the talking at first but as soon the girls get up for their walks together Biff cuts in front of Hugo and takes Virginia.
            Biff really likes Virginia. That night he goes home and cleans himself up for a party in the park. He puts on a nice suit, puts vanilla scent in his hair, and buys a new hat. Before he can get to the party, though, he gets into a fight with some guys in a pool hall. He arrives at the party with a black eye and his hair all messed up. Virginia wants nothing to do with him she sits near Hugo the whole night and barely speaks to Biff. Biff does not get the hint that Virginia does not like him she likes Hugo but he tells her anyway to meet him in the park at eight o’clock that Wednesday.
            Wednesday comes and Biff sits all alone in the park. He has not heard the news that Hugo and Virginia have gotten married. She mentions her meeting on the train and she and Hugo leave for their honeymoon and the town people go to the park to make fun of Biff. Amy met Biff in the park. She tries to tell him about the marriage but it is too late the towns people come and begin to make fun of Biff. He tries to make it out like he knew, Amy bails him out she tells everyone that she and Biff are getting married. Amy and Biff walk down to the water and they decide to get married.
            Biff and Amy have been married for two years. They get along with the only love really coming from Amy. Biff in the meantime is still in love with Virginia. Virginia and Biff come back to town after being away for two years. Biff hears that they are back and immediately asks about his lost love. That same night is Biff and Amy’s two year wedding anniversary. Amy works all day to make him a nice dinner. He comes home and just realizes that she has made all his favorite foods he does not even know it is there anniversary. Biff finds the little note Amy left him on his plate. He gets up and hugs her. Out of nowhere Hugo and Virginia come into the house saying they want them to come to their hotel for a nice dinner. As they wait for Amy, Hugo offers Biff a higher paying job at his factory only if he will become a spy. Biff refuses he does not want to be the one to have people fired. The next day at work Biff finds out he has been fired because he refused the job. He walks out of the factory he sees Amy and she asks him why he is out of work during the middle of the day. Biff walks into Hugo’s office and acts very nicely knowing that is the way he will get his job back. Hugo will only take him back if he becomes a spy for him. Once again Biff refuses, he gets into a scuffle with the police officer in the room, a gun goes off, and the officer is shot in the leg. Biff is put in jail for two years.
            Two years later upon his release, Biff walks to the park so he does not make a scene. Amy meets him in the park. He feels terrible for what he made her go through and wants to take her away.
            Back in the present Hugo is still under gas. Biff was going to kill him but Virginia walks in. She is not the woman Biff had loved. She looks loose and extremely unhappy. Virginia tires to goad Biff to kill her husband. Biff wakes out of his haze and pulls Hugo out of his gas sleep. When Hugo gets out of his chair Virginia immediately goes to Biff and tries to hit on him. Nothing she does works on Biff his fantasy and love for his dream woman has been broken. When the unhappy couple walks out of his office Biff laughs. Amy comes into the room. Biff happily lifts her in his arms and tells her he loves her.
            Gary Cooper was ridiculously handsome and wonderful. I have yet to see him in a film where he was nothing but perfection. Fay Wray I always enjoy seeing in films I really like her as an actress the more I see her in. Her character was obviously not supposed to be nice and she did play that very well. Wary looked awesome in her slinky costume at the end. In the same scene she asks Cooper “Perhaps you’ll examine me sometime Dr. Grimes.” Sexy is not the first thought that comes to mind when people think of Fay Wray from King Kong but let me tell you she was very sexy and slinky. Even though Wray and Cooper were not a screen couple it was interesting to see them on screen together. They had made several films before this.
            I like the title, One Sunday Afternoon. I like how everything in the story happened because of that one Sunday afternoon that Biff met Virginia. I like how this man was so obsessed with this one woman and lived his life as if they were meant to be together and he did not see that she did not love him the way he loved her. She did not even like him in the slightest! I was not a fan of this version as I said I love The Strawberry Blonde. Sure it had the same story but it was funnier and sweeter. Definitely see One Sunday Afternoon with Gary Cooper and Fay Wray.

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