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

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Spring Byington and Florence Roberts
ON THEIR OWN (1940). Director: Otto Brower.

In this final installment of Twentieth Century-Fox's Jones Family series, Mr. Jones, who is not seen (Jed Prouty, who played the role, is not in the movie as he wanted more money) has a nervous collapse after a Building and Loan crash and the embezzlement of several board members. While Jones recuperates, his wife, Louise (Spring Byington), and children have to deal with the fact that they're going to lose their home and their business. After this grim development, Mr. Jones is sent to a sanitarium in California to recuperate, and his family follows, but have severe money troubles. In an incredible and gutsy maneuver that borders on the unethical and even criminal, Louise and her oldest sons Jack (Kenneth Howell) and Roger (George Ernest), manage to "buy" a rental court from the owner, but not before he evicts his non-paying relatives. The family transform the court into a place where entertainers are welcome, not to mention people with children and pets, which infuriates the landlord of the property next door, who's afraid his tenants will complain about the noise and commotion, leading to a battle in court. Spring Byington takes center stage in this final Jones Family film, and runs with it, and the other actors, including Florence Roberts as Granny, are all terrific. Marguerite Chapman, Chick Chandler, ever-grumpy Charles Lane, and Irving Bacon are in the supporting cast. Call me a sentimental slob, but the depiction of the very obvious love these characters feel for one another is sometimes touching. NOTE: Your reviewer has seen all of the Jones Family films with the exception of Young as You Feel, Off to the Races, and A Trip to Paris. In the unlikely event that anyone has copies of these, especially Paris, please let me know!

Verdict: Not the best of the series, but some sentiment and humor and wonderful performances, and a more than interesting wind-up to the Jones Family (mis)adventures. **1/2.

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