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

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Zasu Pitts, Eve Arden, and Phyllis Povah
LET'S FACE IT (1943). Director: Sidney Lanfield.

"When we were first married he could lull me to sleep with his tuba." -- Zasu Pitts

"Now he can't even lift it." -- Eve Arden

Private Jerry Walker (Bob Hope) secretly sells food to some of the larger, starving ladies at the fat farm run by his fiancee, Winnie (Betty Hutton). Along come three middle-aged ladies -- played by Eve Arden [Three Husbands], Zasu Pitts and Phyllis Povah -- whose husbands have bundled them off to the fat farm while they go fishing. These women are convinced their husbands are secretly meeting honeys at a summer lodge, so they inveigle three soldiers into coming to the lodge to make their men jealous. Jerry desperately needs money so he agrees to go but he drags along two buddies -- neither actor makes much of an impression -- because he insists that the ladies "look like Veronica Lake, with two eyes!" Let's Face It has some cute moments, good lines and performances, but it runs out of plot around halfway through. The songs are forgettable, even if they are by Cole Porter, though there are two excellent dance numbers: Bob and his pals do a very cute shuffle; and a bizarre, violent dance act in which the couple seem to be illustrating the battle of the sexes. The script is kind of rough on women who have the misfortune not to be young and beautiful, and it's full of what you might call "fat abuse." What's ironic is that Hope and his buddies act as if the three ladies are so hideous, even Arden, when they are not exactly prizes themselves. Hutton gets one especially horrible song number and sings it horribly. Joe Sawyer [Roses are Red] is swell as Jerry's gruff sergeant and Hope's gal pal Dona Drake [Valentino] has a small role.

Verdicts: Some funny moments to be sure but not the hilarity you're hoping for. **.

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