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

Monday, August 11, 2008


PARDON MY PAST (1945). Director: Leslie Fenton.

Just out of the Army, Eddie York (Fred MacMurray, pictured) just wants to open a mink farm with his pal Chuck (William Demarest), but he's mistaken for the wealthy Francis Pemberton, whom he resembles, by a bookie (Akim Tamiroff), whom the latter owes $12,000. This leads to Eddie winding up at Pemberton's estate, where he's mistaken for his lookalike and learns that the real man is pretty much a stinker. In the meantime, Joan (Marguerite Chapman), who looks after Pemberton's little girl, finds herself drawn to a man who seems strangely different -- and much improved -- from the way he was before (Eddie also falls for Joan). Rita Johnson shows up as Pemberton's ex-wife Mary, and Harry Davenport is fun as always as wily Grandpa Pemberton. MacMurray is as amiable and adept as ever in this picture but while there's some fun in wondering what will happen when Eddie and Francis finally meet, the sad truth is that Pardon My Past isn't especially funny, and the sentimental moments don't make up for it. NOTE: The film takes place in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, MacMurray's beloved hometown (although he was actually born in Illinois).

Verdict: Not bad, just blah. **.


Gary R. said...

Just watched this on one of the movie channels and agree with your assessment. Not a lot of laughs, though Charles Arnt as a disgruntled clothing salesman did get a couple chuckles out of me. One correction: the movie doesn't take place in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin but in New York City & Great Neck. Beaver Dam is the oft-mentioned, intended destination of MacMurray's character, where he and buddy William Demarest plan to raise minks.

William said...

Thanks for the correction -- I knew Beaver Dam was in there somewhere!