This is a fun, if dated, romantic comedy from 1948, starring Cary Grant, and Betsy Drake (in her debut film). The two stars went on to get married afterwards, which probably explains why there was so much chemistry between them here.
Drake plays Anabel Sims, a young woman whose sole ambition in life is to get married. When she bumps into Doctor Madison Brown (Grant) she immediately decides that he is the one for her, and pursues him relentlessly in an attempt to get him to fall for her. Complications arise when she tries to make Brown jealous, and comical misunderstandings ensue.
I did enjoy this film – partly because I simply enjoy watching Cary Grant act, and especially in films such as this, where he can use his considerable comic talents. There’s no doubt however, that the film is very firmly rooted in a different age. The idea that Anabel’s only hope is to land a husband is outdated, and further, the idea that a woman will (and should) use subterfuge, trickery and manipulation to land the man of her dreams is seen as a good thing! Additionally, her plans to net the Doctor involve following his every move (she does indeed follow him day and night, and learns everything about him, including not only where he eats and socialises, but also what his hobbies are, and even what colour his underwear is!) All of this might sit uncomfortably with some viewers, and certainly Anabel’s behaviour would be classed as stalking and entirely unacceptable in the current day. With all that in mind, it’s therefore necessary to take the film at face value and not read too much into it.
It’s actually very funny in parts. Betsy Drake is perfect as Anabel, and it’s a shame that she didn’t go on to have a more illustrious career – she certainly seems to have had the talent for it. Grant of course is terrific, and I loved the character of Madison, who tries to resist Anabel’s aggressive pursuit. I won’t reveal the ending, but it’s a romantic comedy – and Cary Grant is the hero – so you can probably guess what happens. There is a neat little twist though, which reveals Anabel’s ingenuity!
Probably not a film for everyone then, and not Grant’s best by some fair way – but still enjoyable and worth a watch.
Year of release: 1948
Director: Don Hartman
Writers: Stephen Morehouse Avery, Eleanor Harris, Don Hartman
Main cast: Cary Grant, Betsy Drake, Franchot Tone, Diana Lynn