Monday, April 19, 2010

Party Wire (1935) Film Review - Jean Arthur

Plot Summary - POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD - - Melodrama all set in the small town of Rockridge, where town gossips get their fix on the shared telephone line party wire everyone shares, eavesdropping on neighbor's conversations and spreading rumours like wildfire. Excitement hits town in the form of Matthew "Matt" Putnam (Victor Jory), back in town after seven years absence, with lots of money - and single! And apparently the only catch in town as all the young women - with mothers pushing behind them - are after him. But Matt visits his old pal Will Oliver (Charles aka Charley Grapewin), a man who likes to get drunk on his homemade applejack, and reunites (and sparks) with Will's now grown-up pretty daughter Marge (Jean Arthur). Marge's friend Roy is interested in her too, they both work on the church funds bookkeeping together (for some reason). But when Matt and Marge are seen going about town together, the gossip leads defeated Roy to decide to leave town - coincidentally, the same night some money has gone missing from the church accounts. Misunderstandings on the telephone leads the town gossips and old biddies to the mistaken notion that Roy was skipping town because he had gotten Marge pregnant! Many troubles loom for Marge, starting with her being fired from her job at the bank. All this leads her hero Matt to try and come to her rescue - by getting even with the whole town for doing her wrong.

Review - This is a real cute film, very entertaining. Okay, that Matt isn't exactly my ideal looks-wise, but he does seem like a pretty decent chap - of course, he actually has no interest in staying on in the tiny town (founded by his Gramps) until he meets Marge - and why not, she's Jean Arthur after all. As Matt's bedridden, ornery aunt tells him - "he's had his education, his fling, and his foolishness - now it's time to settle down - in Rockridge." The scenes of the old lady gossips getting their kicks listening in on everyone's phone conversations are kind of amusing, actually. Lots of really good character actors fill up this film, helping make this quite enjoyable. Of course, being the thirties, they never actually say the word pregnant or mention pregnancy - but we all get it anyway! Rating - 8.5/10 stars

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