I’m back for one last turn with this month’s Star, and that would be Barbara Stanwyck’s 1946 comedy The Bride Wore Boots, which also stars Robert Cummings and Diana Lynn!
Coming Up Shorts! with… Congratulations It’s Pink (1967)
(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Volume 2 (1966-1968) from Kino Lorber)
(Length: 6 minutes, 12 seconds)
The Pink Panther steals a basket from some campers, only to find it has a baby in it and not food. This is another fun cartoon, with the gags varying between the Panther trying to palm off the baby, and then, once he realizes that he’s stuck with it, how he takes care of it. I know I get a chuckle out of him “milking” the milk truck like a cow (only for a cow to peek out a moment after he finishes)! It’s very enjoyable, and one I enjoy coming back to! The only complaint I have is that the audio seems a bit distorted (at least on the Blu-ray, anyway), although not so bad as to completely ruin seeing it.
And Now For The Main Feature…
After seven years of marriage, Sally (Barbara Stanwyck) and Jeff Warren (Robert Cummings) find themselves at odds over their various interests. Sally is running a horse farm with her partner (and former flame, which certainly bugs Jeff) Lance Gale (Patric Knowles), whereas Jeff doesn’t really like horses (and, although he tries to ride, is frequently thrown by even the gentlest horses). Meanwhile, Jeff is an historian and author of books on the old South, with groups of (mostly older) women who like to have him lecture at their meetings and send him various Civil War artifacts (and Sally resents the feminine interest, regardless of age, as well as the artifacts cluttering up the house). Jeff and Sally still love each other, though, and try to get along. For Christmas, Jeff tries to give Sally a horse named Albert (which he has been told is a good horse), but it turns out that he was suckered into buying an older horse that wouldn’t be able to race (an opportunity that Lance uses to pick on him, before they both fight each other). As her gift to Jeff, Sally tried to give him a desk that belonged to Jefferson Davis, but, she also is humiliated later when a group of women (for whom Jeff will be giving a lecture shortly) bring him a gift of a stuffed Confederate horse, and they reveal it to be a fake. What’s worse, one of their younger members, Mary Lou Medford (Diana Lynn), takes a shine to Jeff and kisses him under the mistletoe. Sally sees this, and threatens to leave him, but he convinces her to go with him to a convention (where he has to give a speech), hoping to make a second honeymoon of it. However, Mary Lou is also there, and kisses him again (which Sally sees). This time, Sally has had enough, and demands a divorce. When Jeff advertises for a secretary to help him write a new book, Mary Lou shows up and gets rid of the other applicants to take the job herself (which Jeff very hesitantly goes along with after she manipulates him). Sally had taken custody of their children in the divorce, but (since she is still in love with Jeff), she decides to send them Jeff’s way to help disrupt Mary Lou’s attempts at seducing Jeff. Meanwhile, the horse Albert has taken a shine to Jeff, and he decides to take up riding, in order to train Albert for the upcoming Virginia Challenge Cup (a steeplechase that Sally and her family had been trying to win for a long time). Of course, Mary Lou doesn’t like this, and arranges for Jeff to go on a lecture tour (and plans to go with him). Seeing this, Sally’s uncle, Tod (Robert Benchley) and her mother, Grace Apley (Peggy Wood), conspire to have her children eat so much as to make themselves sick. When they both hear about the children, Sally and Jeff rush right over. Sally quickly wises up to her mother’s tricks, but she keeps quiet about it since she still loves Jeff. Jeff decides not to go on the lecture tour (which results in Mary Lou breaking up with him), and he decides to ride Albert in the Virginia Challenge Cup, especially when he hears about Lance’s plan to propose to Sally if he wins. But, can Jeff, a very untrained rider, win the Cup and Sally’s heart again?
For what (sadly) turned out to be Barbara Stanwyck’s last feature comedy, she does quite well with her role here! I love how her character tries to love her husband, and yet, it’s hard not to feel for her when we see him go wrong. Of course, she is, in her own ways, rather devious, as she tries to get back at him for the “trouble” he causes. And she is quick to recognize that same quality in others, like when her mother tries to get them her and her husband back together (of course, she wants that, too, so no way will she mention that to her husband 😉 ). She does quite well with the film’s humor, which, to me, makes it disappointing that writers couldn’t come up with anything good comedy-wise for her after this film.
The movie evens qualifies, to some degree, as a Christmas movie, which adds to its appeal for me! Now, I know we’re mostly talking about the Christmas stuff happening in the first half hour before moving on, but it has enough importance to the rest of the film, in between Jeff’s (Robert Cummings) gift of a horse to his wife, the mistletoe (which is the start of his marital woes), and the stuffed horse that comes into play here and there. Of course, the film has more than just Christmas in its favor, as I like the comedic performances, too! Robert Cummings does well with his comedy bits (and, from what I’ve read, even did some of his own stunts in the steeplechase)! Robert Benchley as the Uncle Tod (whom the kids really like) and Peggy Wood as Sally’s (Barbara Stanwyck) mother add to the humor, especially when they get to scheming a little themselves. Willie Best is here, too, in what feels like one of his less-stereotyped roles, which at least doesn’t take away from it. The steeplechase scene does manage to be one of the more amusing horse races I’ve seen (at least for those that stay normal without getting screwy like the Marx Brothers). I will admit, I’ve seen much better horse/horseracing films, but the cast for this one makes it entertaining enough that I would love to keep coming back to it every now and then (especially at Christmastime)! So, yes, recommended by me!
What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… The Bride Wore Boots (1946)
This movie is available on Blu-ray as part of the three film Barbara Stanwyck Collection from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. As usual, this one is sporting an HD scan. This one looks quite good, with most of the dirt and debris cleaned up. There are a few minor instances of scratches and the like, but overall, it’s as good as one could hope for!
What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… Barbara Stanwyck Collection
The Barbara Stanwyck Collection includes Internes Can’t Take Money, The Great Man’s Lady and The Bride Wore Boots. All three films have HD scans that look quite good, outside of minor dust and dirt here and there. I think the set is worth it for all three films, as, while not seemingly among Barbara’s best-known films, each one of them still allows her to give a great performance as part of some very entertaining movies. Easily a worthwhile set to look into!
Whew! Now that we’re done with all that, I can safely say that this ends my month-long celebration of actress Barbara Stanwyck (well, it does for me, as my next posts will be in the month of September)! So join me again on Wednesday, September 1, as I move on to the second-to-last blogathon I am hosting this year (and on my favorite film genre, no less), Musicals: With A Song And A Dance In My Heart!
Film Length: 1 hour, 27 minutes
My Rating: 9/10
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
Christmas In Connecticut (1945) – Barbara Stanwyck – Titanic (1953)
It Started With Eve (1941) – Robert Cummings – Stagecoach (1966)
Road To Utopia (1946) – Robert Benchley
Tomorrow Is Forever (1946) – Natalie Wood – Miracle On 34th Street (1947)
The Great Man’s Lady (1942) – Barbara Stanwyck Collection
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