Derek Winnert


This article was written on 19 Aug 2017, and is filled under Reviews.

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The Bride Came C.O.D. *** (1941, James Cagney, Bette Davis, Stuart Erwin) – Classic Movie Review 5939

Director William Keighley’s breezy and likeable 1941 movie belatedly re-unites James Cagney and Bette Davis after their successful pairing in Jimmy the Gent (1934).

It is a fluffy and frantic but unsubtle comedy from the Epstein twins, Julius J Epstein and Philip G Epstein, the writers of Casablanca, that pleases well enough but does not quite fully do the job of delivering the wit and raising the laughs on a high level.

Davis stars as Joan Winfield, an oil heiress eloping with bandleader Allen Brice (Jack Carson) until her daddy Lucius (Eugene Pallette) charters pilot Steve Collins (Cagney) to bring her home. But then, of course Davis and Cagney find themselves thrust together in bickering banter, while they begin to fall for each other.

The public loved it, thanks to the first teaming of the two great stars since 1934, but Davis and Cagney are let down by the surprisingly lacklustre and obvious screenplay, based on a story by Kenneth Earl and  M M Musselman.

However, it is still well worth seeing for the on-form actors and Max Steiner’s vibrant score.

Also in the cast are Stuart Erwin, George Tobias, William Frawley, Henry Davenport, Edward Brophy, Chick Chandler, Harry Holman, Keith Douglas, Herbert Anderson, Creighton Hale, Jack Mower, Frank Mayo, William Newell, William Hopper, Eddy Chandler, Lee Phelps, Reid Kilpatrick, Tony Hughes and Richard Travis.

It is shot in black and white by Ernest Haller, produced by Hal B Wallis and William Cagney, scored by Max Steiner and Leo F Forbstein, and designed by Ted Smith.

Just look at the difference in the comparative size of the stars’ names on the two posters, eight years apart, though note that Cagney keeps his top billing.

© Derek Winnert 2017 Classic Movie Review 5939

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