Cary and Irene (THE AWFUL TRUTH)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Doughgirls (1944) is screwball comedy at it's best...

Coming out at the tail end of the screwball comedy genre is this wonderful and entertaining film, The Doughgirls. Featuring an all-star cast of Ann Sheridan, Jane Wyman, Jack Carson, Eve Arden, Charlie Ruggles and Alexis Smith. The story centers on recently married couple Arthur and Vivian Halstead (played by Carson and Wyman) who arrive in Washington, DC to honeymoon in their reserved suite. But with the wartime housing shortage (this film is set during WW2) things do not go as planned. When they arrive, their room is already occupied by another recently married couple, Julian and Edna Cadman (played by John Ridgely and Ann Sheridan). There is a tense scene when the two women meet behind closed doors that you think is going to turn ugly, but ends up being not so bad, once they realize they are friends from their old chorus line days. Soon a third friend will drop by a Nan Curtis Dillion (Alexis Smith) who is there to marry a soldier fiancee, who is en route before he flies out on a mission. All this is well and good except that Arthur wants to spend time with his wife, but with so many people dropping by that becomes futile. Eve Arden shows up as Russian soldier, Sgt. Natalia  Moskoroff, on a goodwill tour of the United States. Her accent will have you cracking up every time she speaks. And she also carries her rifle everywhere she goes, occasionally letting off a few shots from the balcony, much to the chagrin of the hotel's manager. Also on hand is Charles Ruggles as Stanley Slade, Arthur's new boss, who decides to put the moves on Vivian. And Edna has to deal with the return of Julian's ex-wife, who wants him back in a big way, now that he is meeting with the high rollers of D.C. Almost all of the action takes place in this one room but a lot of things and situations happen that will keep you entertained throughout.

The performances are all wonderful. Jane Wyman is awesome as Vivian. She gives a ditzy blonde performance (even though she is brunette) that would make Marilyn Monroe proud. You won't believe half the things that come out of her mouth but you will be laughing anyway. I never knew Wyman could be this funny. Ann Sheridan is pretty good too despite a few times she comes close to going over the top with her shrieking. But she gives the best double takes along with Jack Carson out of the whole cast. And speaking of Carson, he is in top form as usual. Alexis Smith actually is quite good in a comedy role instead of her usual dramatic ones. She even gets to do a thick Brooklyn accent that will bring a smile to your face. And let's not forget the great Charles Ruggles, who is perfect as Slade.

The Doughgirls is a very funny movie that I loved from the get go. It's setting will remind you of The More the Merrier and Government Girl, as those films also dealt with the wartime housing shortage. And it is just as memorable as those films as well. I have no problem placing The Doughgirls on the list of great screwball classics.

1 comment:

Paul 2 said...

Monty, I like this film and Eve is a Hoot! Don't mess with a Russian Sharpshooter.