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

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Clifton Webb takes charge of little Tommy Rettig

ELOPEMENT (1951). Director: Henry Koster.

"What does she see in that creature?"

"I'd sooner be related to a ring-tailed baboon."

"Jake" (Anne Francis of Forbidden Planet and Honey West) plans to study abroad after graduating college, but instead she decides to elope with one of her professors, Matt Reagan (William Lundigan) -- this despite the fact that the two have never actually been out on a date! Naturally their parents (Clifton Webb, Margalo Gillmore, Charles Bickford and Evelyn Varden) take off in pursuit to try to stop them before they can get hitched. But considering all the misunderstandings that are cropping up between Jake and Matt, the parents may find that their interference is unnecessary ... Elopement must be taken with a grain of salt. First, the idea of a professor having the hots for one of his students (granted, she's an adult), while hardly without precedent, is still a little creepy. Second, there's no good reason for the couple not to wait and have a "normal" wedding. Third -- they hardly know one another! That being said, Elopement still has its amusing moments and situations, and the performances are all very good, with Webb simply outstanding. Although Webb never married, was deeply attached to his mother, and may or may not have been gay, he can play husbands and fathers with absolute conviction and aplomb, as he does here. Whether Webb is dealing with his friend Roger (Reginald Gardner) or little Daniel (Tommy Rettig), Matt's youngest brother, he is very sharp and funny. Webb and Francis also teamed up for Dreamboat the following year.

Verdict: Cute picture despite obvious flaws. ***.

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