What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… Fast And Loose (1930)

For today’s review, we’ve got that 1930 film Fast And Loose, which stars Miriam Hopkins, Carole Lombard and Frank Morgan!  Of course, we’ve got a theatrical short to get through first, and then it’s on to our movie!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Odd Ant Out (1970)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Ant And The Aardvark from Kino Lorber)

(Length: 6 minutes, 7 seconds)

The blue aardvark competes with a green aardvark for a can of chocolate ants. This cartoon really focuses in on the aardvark rivalry, and the ant himself really only gets a cameo appearance. Regardless, it’s a lot of fun! I grant you, the humor is somewhat predictable, but the characters are fun enough to watch that they overcome that particular problem. I know that I enjoy watching it periodically!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Socialite Marion Lenox (Miriam Hopkins) finds herself engaged to Lord Rockingham (David Hutcheson).  She doesn’t feel that he’s the right man, but she mostly goes along with it because it’s what her parents want.  Or, rather, I should say, it’s a marriage that her mother, Carrie (Winifred Harris) and Carrie’s brother George Crafton (Herbert Yost) want for her.  Marion’s father, Bronson (Frank Morgan), doesn’t think it’s quite so good for her (but he’s going along with it for his wife’s sake).  And Marion’s not the only one who doesn’t want to marry someone of her “station,”  as her brother, Bertie (Henry Wadsworth), is interested in chorus girl Alice O’Neil (Carole Lombard).  Depressed about her situation, Marion goes out for a drive, and stops by a beach.  There, she meets auto mechanic Henry Morgan (Charles R. Starrett), who is out there just swimming.  The two start slinging insults at each other, but the seeds of attraction are there, and Marion decides to come back to meet him again.  Neither of them knows who the other really is, so they are both slightly shocked when they accidentally come across each other as he is working on her car.  She’s still interested in him, but, now that he knows who she is (particularly from her reputation), he’s a little more reluctant to continue their relationship. Meanwhile, when George learns about Bertie’s chorus girl girlfriend, he pushes Bronson to meet her.  Posing as a pair of theatrical agents, they meet Alice and her roommate Millie Montgomery (Ilka Chase) for dinner to find out what they can about her and buy them off.  Alice realizes that the two aren’t agents like they claimed, but doesn’t really know who they are.  Bronson is slightly more impressed with Alice, particularly when she points out his own mistakes as a parent.  Of course, everything is revealed when a drunken Bertie crashes the party, with Marion and Henry in tow, and all hope for both couples looks doomed.   Will they be able to work things out, or will they all go their separate ways?

Fast And Loose is based on the 1924 play The Best People by David Gray and Avery Hopwood.  I don’t know how fresh the story was at that time, but now it’s the type that’s been done any number of times with rich parents wanting their kids to marry into their “station.”  Still, there are only so many stories to be told in the world, and it all boils down to how well they are told.  Coming off my first time seeing this movie, I would argue this is not one of the better ones.  The biggest problem I have with this movie is that almost all the actors and actresses are a little too stiff in their performances.  Granted, I suspect that this is due to this movie being from 1930 (like the movie Holiday that I reviewed last year), with sound technology still being new and everybody trying to adjust how to act for the talkies.  But, unlike the previously reviewed Holiday, I’m not sure that there were any performances that were good enough to save this one.  My only previous experience with Miriam Hopkins is with Design For Living, and she was far better in that than she was here.  Carole Lombard, in spite of being billed second, is really not in this movie that much, and her performance might be a little bit better, but not much.  And it’s equally disappointing to see Frank Morgan a bit more stiff.  I’ve generally enjoyed him in most everything of his that I’ve seen, but here his screen persona isn’t really fully developed (but it is at least partially there, and it’s during those brief moments that things improve a little).  And it’s really hard to cheer for Charles Starrett’s Henry Morgan, as sexist as some of his comments can be.  Now, does the movie have its moments?  Certainly, as I do enjoy Ilka Chase as Millie, particularly as she tries to go after Herbert Yost’s uptight George Crafton.  But, she’s not there a lot, and the rest of the movie just drags a little too much because of all the weak performances.  So, I would not recommend this one.

This movie is available on Blu-ray as part of the Carole Lombard Collection: Volume 1 from Kino Lorber.  The movie has had an HD scan, which generally looks pretty good.  It does have its scratches and tears, but they don’t really take away from the movie.

Film Length: 1 hour, 11 minutes

My Rating: 5/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Miriam Hopkins – Design For Living (1933)

Carole Lombard – Man Of The World (1931)

Frank Morgan – The Cat And The Fiddle (1934)

Carole Lombard Collection: Volume 1 – Man Of The World (1931)

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