Since this one has been requested, I shall indeed delve into this movie. It is a movie I had not previously heard of. Sometimes I am prone to looking up movies on Amazon for various actors and actresses I have heard of, and seeing what is available (particularly on Blu-ray). This movie I came across when I was looking up actress Veronica Lake. Upon looking it up, I found it was described as being a screwball comedy (a genre I have come to REALLY enjoy the last few years, at least from that era of movies, anyways). I also found it was listed as being one of several movies that originally inspired the creator of the classic sitcom “Bewitched,” so I definitely thought it would be worth trying. The movie stars Fredric March, Veronica Lake, Cecil Kellaway, Susan Hayward, and Robert Benchley.
Of course, we have to start off with the requisite description of the plot. We first start back in the time of the Puritans, after a girl, Jennifer (Veronica Lake) and her father Daniel (Cecil Kellaway) have been burned at the stake, being accused by Jonathan Wooley (Fredric March), and then their ashes were buried beneath a tree to trap their spirits. Before they were burned, Jennifer cursed Jonathan and his future descendants with being “unlucky in love” (translation: marrying the wrong person). We see a few snippets of Jonathan’s descendants through time (all played by March), up until the present day (well, for when this movie was made). We find the current Wooley, Wallace, running for governor, and engaged to be married the day before the election, to the spoiled Estelle, (Susan Hayward) the daughter of his chief political backer. There is a lightning storm, which hits the tree, letting Jennifer and Daniel loose as puffs of smoke, who decide to wreak havoc on Wallace. They are limited to being those puffs of smoke, except by creating a body through a fire, so Jennifer starts a fire on a hotel, which Wallace is passing by. He hears her, and goes in to save her. From then on, she starts being a problem to him, and falls for him, which her father does not like (Any further details should be supplied by watching the movie).
So, now we get to my assessment of the movie. After one viewing, all I can say is that I heartily recommend the movie! Is it my favorite screwball comedy? No, that honor would probably go to the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musical Carefree (if anybody can read that entire statement and still ask me why, you don’t know me very well, do you). But this movie is still very enjoyable (and still clear proof of why I enjoy screwball comedies of this era), with a lot of the humor stemming from her popping up everywhere and causing him havoc. In particular, I most enjoyed the attempted wedding between Wallace and Estelle, which just gets funnier the longer it goes on! The special effects are about what I would expect to find in either of the sixties sitcoms Bewitched or I Dream Of Jeannie, which still works well here. Obviously, we can easily see Jennifer and Wallace getting together by the end of the movie, but the journey of the movie is the fun, and this movie is not short of that, so I would heartily recommend it to anybody (especially for some Halloween fun)!
The movie is available on either Blu-ray or DVD from the Criterion Collection (and therefore a little more expensive, but worth it to me), and I think Amazon may have it to either rent or download for those who don’t want/ need the disc. The movie clocks in at about one hour, 16 minutes.
My Rating: 8/10