Saturday, March 19, 2016

Rain Parade

One Rainy Afternoon (1934) is a slight, featherweight comedy from the thirties. It was a bit of a prestige production, a co-production of Jesse Lasky and Mary Pickford. Now, its charms depend mainly on:
  • Ida Lupino in an early role as an innocent ingenue, not a role we're used to seeing her in
  • Some classic character actors, like Hugh Herbert, Donald Meek, Roland Young, and especially, Mischa Auer
  • A chance to see some unfamiliar stars like Francis Lederer and Countess Liev de Maigret
Other than that, it's nothing special.

Actor Lederer and his married lover de Maigret have planned a clandestine meeting in a cinema, but he sits next to Lupino and kisses her in the dark. He is arrested as a masher but can't admit that he mistook her for his lover. Since this is set in Paris, he becomes a bit of a célébrité, and his producer mounts a show with a kiss-stealing premise. Women from all over sit in theaters, hoping to get a kiss from a stranger. Meanwhile, Ida Lupino is both prosecuting Lederer and falling in love with him.

Now, the comedy is pretty weak, and the songs would be forgettable if they weren't so generic. Lupino isn't given much to work with, so she winds up being beautiful and not much else. But oh, so beautiful! The "best" part is Hugh Herbert as Toto the prompter, who has a tendency to supply lines to people in conversation as well as in the theater. "Best" is in quotes, because his style of "woo-hoo" humor is not to all tastes.

Still, a fun little movie, suitable for wasting a rainy afternoon.

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