Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


STOLEN HOLIDAY (1937). Director: Michael Curtiz.

Kay Francis is a dress model who is hired by a man who wants her to model clothing for his wife, who is ill at home. Only it turns out the man (Claude Rains) has no wife and really wants Kay to help him put on a domestic front for some investors. Apparently it works, because in short order (in running time, that is) Rains is a successful businessman and Kay has opened her own fashion house with money given her by a grateful Rains. Unfortunately, it also turns out that Rains is a crook, although he feigns innocence with Francis, asking her to marry him (for added respectability) as the authorities close in, when she really loves Ian Hunter. This light drama hinges on the enduring friendship between Rains and Francis, who feels she owes him everything, but we don't see enough of those early years when this friendship is forged and see nothing at all of the crucial meeting with the investors for which Rains utilized Kay in the first place. The film isn't terrible, just distinctly minor. Francis is okay, giving the part no more than it deserves (although there are actresses who might have done more with it), Rains is excellent, and Alison Skipworth adds some sparkle as a friend and associate of Kay's who sees through Rains from the first.
Verdict: Easy to take but forgettable. **.

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