films seen
average score
Alive and kicking
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The Bells of St. Mary's

1945 / 126m - USA
Drama, Comedy
The Bells of St. Mary's poster

A pretty meek and long-winding drama with some soft comedy intertwined. There are a few scenes that are quite fun and amusing, but the whole is pretty dated and with a running time crossing the 120-minute barrier, it takes a little too much effort to get to the end of it. This one is only for the fans of commercial classic Hollywood.

The Awful Truth

1937 / 90m - USA
Comedy, Romance
The Awful Truth poster

Another simple, classic comedy from Leo McCarey. It hinges its bets on the Grant/Dunne combination and hopes for the best, which is nice if you're a fan of this type of screwball comedy I guess. Personally, I could do without the endless quips and somewhat annoying situational humor.

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Jerry and Lucy are a couple destined for divorce. There's no trust between them and all they ever do is fight with each other. While they're waiting for their divorce to get finalized, they already start making new wedding plans, but neither one is willing to let the other get their life back on track so soon.

Soon to be divorced people trying to mess with each other's lives isn't a very funny premise, Grant and Dunne are quite stiff and the dialogue-driven comedy simply isn't all that funny. At least the pacing is decent and the runtime is short, but there's nothing memorable here and I'm sure I'll have forgotten all about it by tomorrow.

Duck Soup

1933 / 68m - USA
Comedy, Musical
Duck Soup poster

Going My Way

1944 / 126m - USA
Comedy, Musical
Going My Way poster

Make Way for Tomorrow

1937 / 91m - USA
Make Way for Tomorrow poster

McCarey is well known for directing comedies, if you read up on Make Way for Tomorrow you may notice it's often categorized as one. I didn't really get that from this film though. Sure enough there are lighter moments, but it's mostly a drama about generational differences. And not a very pleasant one at that.

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I even got flashbacks to Bergman's Wild Strawberries, though McCarey's aesthetic and tone isn't quite as highbrow. But the contemplation and whining of two old people who are separated by their children because they're in financial trouble is something that would've been right up Bergman's alley.

The performances are pretty weak, the characters are cardboard and the drama is either timeless or chewed up, depending on your personal preference. For me, it was clearly the latter. A long-winded drama that felt a lot longer that its 90-minute runtime would suggest, certainly not my favorite McCarey.