Thoughts From The Music(al) Man (2020) on… Perfect Strangers (1950)

And now for the 1950 drama that reunited Kitty Foyle co-stars Ginger Rogers and Dennis Morgan, Perfect Strangers.

Coming Up Shorts! with… Pre-Hysterical Man (1948)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 3 from Warner Archive Collection)

Disclaimer: On the disc case, it is noted that the set is intended for the adult collector, which is because these shorts were made at a time when a lot of racist and sexist stereotypes were prevalent. All I’m trying to say is, parents, be careful about just sticking these on for your kids.

(Length: 6 minutes, 50 seconds)

While in Yellowstone, Olive falls off a tall peak into a deep hole where a caveman and dinosaur reside, and Popeye has to save her. While the caveman isn’t Bluto exactly, he’s certainly similar enough that this resorts to a similar formula as before. Some gags have been used before (at least they seem familiar), but they are still worth a few laughs. I’ve seen better Popeye cartoons, but this one is still a lot of fun!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Ernest Craig is on trial for the murder of his wife. Amongst the jurors are Mrs. Teresa “Terry” Scott (Ginger Rogers) (separated from her husband), David Campbell (Dennis Morgan) (married with children), Lena Fassler (Thelma Ritter) and others. As the trial has become something of a media sensation, the judge orders the jury to be locked up together in a hotel, with no outside contact for the duration of the trial. Throughout the trial, they are reminded of how the married Ernest Craig had had a relationship with his secretary, a fact that was playing out in the jury as well as Terry falls in love with David. Once the trial ends, the infighting increases as they all try to come to one conclusion: guilty or not guilty?

The movie made much ado about the fact that it re-teamed Kitty Foyle co-stars Ginger Rogers and Dennis Morgan after nearly a decade of trying to find the right script for them to work together again. It certainly veers into similar territory to the better known classic 12 Angry Men, but I doubt it has the power that that film has (to be fair, I’ve never seen 12 Angry Men, but I’ve certainly heard enough good things about it). I just don’t feel like this film works as well, for either of the two main stars. And it’s hard to sympathize with most of the jurors, some of whom openly admit they’ve already made up their minds beforehand, never mind how they all completely disregard orders to not discuss the case with each on their own time, starting in arguing almost as soon as the bailiff gets out of earshot. And, to a degree, that doesn’t even allow for how some of the cast is wasted, with Thelma Ritter being the main source of comedy. And Paul Ford just seems miscast as the judge. Sure, he does alright, but after having gotten used to him in comedic roles, whether it be Colonel Hall on the classic sitcom The Phil Silvers Show or as the mayor in The Music Man, seeing him in a serious role (even if it was before any of those) just seems odd. Now, in spite of my comments, I do like this movie, but at the same time, I really can’t quite bring myself to recommend this one to anybody except completists for any of the talent involved, onscreen or off.

This movie is available on DVD from Warner Archive Collection.

Film Length: 1 hour, 28 minutes

My Rating: 4/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Magnificent Doll (1946)Ginger RogersForever Female (1953)

Christmas In Connecticut (1945) – Dennis Morgan

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