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

Thursday, December 1, 2016


You're strangely attractive, my Henry: Devine and Sondergaard
NEVER SAY DIE (1939). Director: Elliott Nugent.

"I don't want any trouble with you -- you get back here in bed!" -- Henry to John.

Scene: the Bad Gassewasser health spa in Europe. John Kidley (Bob Hope) is worth twenty million dollars, and is being chased by "black widow" Juno Marko (Gale Sondergaard). Meantime, Mickey Hawkins (Martha Raye) is ordered by her father (Paul Harvey) to marry a man she does not love, the impoverished Prince Smirnov (Alan Mowbray), only so that he can get into the country club. John and Mickey decide to marry each other to keep out of the hands of their persistent suitors, but then Mickey's boyfriend, Henry (Andy Devine of Between Us Girls) shows up and accompanies the couple on their honeymoon, with the two men sharing a bed! An added complication is that John has mistakenly been told that he only has a short while to live. not to mention the fact that the prince wants to fight a duel with him. Never Say Die is a very funny movie with a great script and terrific performances from everyone in the cast, which includes Monty Woolley [Life Begins at Eight-Thirty] as the confused doctor; Ernest Cossart as "Jeepers," John's helpful butler; and Sig Ruman [Thank You Mr. Moto] as the hotel proprietor who is astonished by John's apparent bed-hopping.

Verdict: As usual Hope and Raye make a splendid team. ***.

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