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

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Tommy (Marvin Stephens) and Roger (George Ernest) make plans
BORROWING TROUBLE (aka The Jones Family in Borrowing Trouble/1937). Director: Frank R. Strayer.

As Bonnie Jones (Shirley Deane) nervously prepares for her wedding to florist Herbert (Russell Gleason), her father, now Mayor Jones (Jed Prouty), becomes a "Big Brother" to a troubled boy from the wrong side of the tracks named Tommy (Marvin Stephens). Mayor Jones is none too thrilled to have the boy among his household, but his wife (Spring Byington) and mother (Florence Roberts) importune him to give Tommy a chance. Part of Tommy's problem is that his older brother, Lester (George Walcott), who works in a pool room, has fallen in with a bad crowd. And then the safe in Mayor Jone's drug store is robbed ... Borrowing Trouble, in which Papa Jones learns not to judge people by their appearance (although his wife's "no bad boys" attitude is quite unrealistic), the seventh entry in the Jones Family series, is, as usual, well-acted with its sentimental aspects never becoming too cloying. Bonnie and Herbert finally get married even if the ceremony is interrupted in riotous fashion. The Jones get a new addition in this installment -- a dog. Oldest son Jack (Kenneth Howell) has little to do in Borrowing Trouble, as he only shows up for the wedding at the end. Roger (George Ernest) gets the lion's share of the footage and gives a very ingratiating performance; Stephens is also notable. His character of Tommy McGuire was carried over to future Jones films, such as The Jones Family in Hollywood, becoming Lucy Jones' (June Carlson) boyfriend. The ever-mediocre Cy Kendall, who plays Chief Kelly in this and other Jones' films, was in a number of serials [Jungle Queen] and "B" movies [The Shadow Strikes].

Verdict: Another amiable evening with the Joneses. **1/2.

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