|HARD TO GET (director: Ray Enright; screenwriters: Jerry Wald/Maurice Leo/Richard Macaulay/Wally Klein/Joseph Schrank/based on the story "Classified" by Stephen Morehouse Avery; cinematographer: Charles Rosher; editor: Thomas Richards; music: Leo F. Forbstein; cast: Dick Powell (Bill Davis), Olivia de Havilland (Margaret Richards), Charles Winninger (Benjamin Richards), Allen Jenkins (Roscoe), Bonita Granville (Connie Richards), Melville Cooper (John Case, valet), Isabel Jeans (Henrietta Richards), Grady Sutton (Stanley Potter), Thurston Hall (John Atwater), Penny Singleton (Hattie), Irving Bacon (Gas Station Attendant), Jimmy Conlin (Dour Diner); Runtime: 82; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Hal B. Wallis; Warner Bros.; 1938)|
Depression-era romantic comedy."
by Dennis Schwartz
Enright ("South of St.
Louis"/"Montana"/"Kansas Raiders") adequately directs
this fluff Depression-era romantic comedy, whose star
power will put across the weak screenplay by Jerry
Wald, Maurice Leo, Richard Macaulay,
Wally Klein, and Joseph Schrank. It's
adapted from the story "Classified" by
Stephen Morehouse Avery about a flighty
heiress and her unexpected romantic adventure with an
economically strapped gas station attendant.
Richards (Olivia de Havilland)
is the independent-minded spoiled daughter of oil
magnate Ben Richards (Charles
Winninger), who refuses to accompany her mom (Isabel
Jeans) and dad for a summer vacation to
ritzy Newport and instead flees by the family auto.
At the gas station, the attendant, Bill
Davis (Dick Powell, fills the tank. Margaret tries to
charge the gas to her father's account, but the
unaware attendant refuses to believe she's a relative
of the tycoon and since Margaret lacks the funds to
pay for the gas, insists she must work off her debt as
a maid in the station's motel.
outraged socialite asks her dad, who is on
the board of the oil company that owns the station,
to have Bill fired. But Dad believes his uppity
daughter needs a life lesson, even if he gets the lad
fired. Bill tells Margaret, whom he now takes for the
maid of the Richards family, that his ambition is to open
a chain of auto courts and all he needs is a
financial backer. The scheming Margaret, who
falls for the hunk, sends Bill to see her dad. He in
turn palms Bill off on his wealthy connected friend
Atwater (Thurston Hall), who
refuses to see him. In the end, when the money-men
learn that Margaret is backing Bill and they like
Bill's offering, they agree to allow Bill to be the
high paid architect on his project and
thereby Bill marries Margaret.
Even though it's not a musical, Johnny Mercer and composer Harry Warren turn out a few songs. Powell croon two of them, including the Hit Parade hit "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby." It's not a bad effort for a bad film, but it left no lasting impression on me.
REVIEWED ON 8/25/2014 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ