I don’t want to go to bed I’m having too much fun

The important bit is Scene 2 at 1:07. You have to watch it first otherwise my singing won’t make sense.

SHE MARRIED HER BOSS. Yes, more La Cava, with Claudette Colbert and Melvyn Douglas. But the scene I have in mind, around 1.50, involves Claudette and Michael Bartlett (who’s really good in this), little Edith Fellows, and the magnificent Jean Dixon. A shame Bartlett and Dixon had such short careers, but they pixellated the thirties alright.

Leave it to La Cava to have a child write the world’s greatest drinking song. I have this number going round and round in my head and I keep inventing new and ever more inane lyrics.

I have a toy piano and I wear it round my neck

The personal note I give with it is better than a cheque.

I don’t want to go to bed I’m having too much fun!

The film sets home life against the workplace to see which is more importance, before concluding that the answer to life’s problems is really at the bottom of a bottle — I don’t recall seeing the alcoholic rampage quite so earnestly celebrated in any other movie. By the time of UNFINISHED BUSINESS, La Cava, a sadder and wiser man, was concluding that sobriety might have its uses, but for now it’s all wine and roses, women and song. Lots of songs!

Mary ran away from home she said she had to scram

With a jar of very nice mint sauce she took it on the lamb

I don’t want to go to bed I’m having too much fun!

There’s also a young and dapper Raymond Walburn as a comic butler, and numerous other pleasures. Even a more serious kind of recital, starting around 5.20 ~

The great non sequiturs (“Because you’ve got freckles”) call to mind Mischa Auer in MY MAN GODFREY (“I like onions, they make me sleepy.”) La Cava had a gift for irrelevance, surely as important as irreverence in a comedy director. I think what’s so miraculous about his best scenes is how they seem tight — the comedy crackles, the timing is exquisite — and loose — everybody seems naturally themselves, responding to what’s happening in a spontaneous manner.

In common with the darker PRIMROSE PATH, we learn that savage corporal punishment is the way to tame unruly children and that anything involving the people and language of Portugal is inherently amusing.

They say the squid has tentacles but they are only eight

They ought to call them eightacles and get a discount rate

I don’t want to go to bed I’m having too much fun!

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8 Responses to “I don’t want to go to bed I’m having too much fun”

  1. I’ve always found the title of this film ineffably absurd. Redolent of
    She Went Off her Diet or She Refused To Give Exact Change at the Piggly-Wiggly or She Seduced the Paperboy

  2. It’s obviously aiming for a reaction of “Wow! She DID???” And yet the movie places Colbert as a very prestigious secretary, really co-director of the company, so the class mobility angle isn’t particularly relevant. Unlike in Bed of Roses and Primrose Path, which are all about sex and love and class and how smart women negotiate between the three.

  3. judydean Says:

    Oh my, here’s an early lesson from Hollywood for any young woman with thoughts of a career. A successful businesswoman harbours a six-year (I think it’s six) unrequited passion for her passionless boss until that is – in a scene so unlikely it takes place off screen, and then even her account of it to her best pal takes place off screen – he proposes to her, whereupon she embraces domesticity with fervour. A workaholic husband? A brattish stepchild? An embittered spinster of a sister-in-law? A joyless house? Who cares so long as you’ve got that wedding ring?

    Nevertheless, some of the dialogue is fantastic – startlingly unexpected – as it is in Unfinished Business, another la Cava I saw in the EIFF retrospective. (I’ll draw a veil over Gabriel Over the White House). Is it known just how much improvisation made it into his finished films?

  4. Christopher Says:

    Roasted Edith Fellows….Looks like a good one for polishing and re-discovery for the screwball market..I watched both clips through because the dialog commanded me to.

  5. The whole film is up on YouTube.

    Ginger Rogers tried to describe La Cava’s methods, and he seems to have gone back and forth between his actors saying “And what would YOU say here?” and putting it together that way. It’s part improvisation, part something indescribable. He certainly did it on Stage Door.

    I interpret it as trying to get the looseness of silent movies, where the actors didn’t have a full dialogue script but are nevertheless saying the right words, as lip-readers can tell you.

  6. Christopher Says:

    Its an interesting concept that would surely produce natrual results..improve with a certain amount of control .

  7. Attila the Pedant Says:

    “They say the squid has tentacles but they are only eight

    They ought to call them eightacles and get a discount rate”

    Actually the squid, or decapod, does have ten tentacles- two large, eight smaller. You are probably confusing it with the octopus which should logically have eightacles

  8. Thanks! I nearly did write “octopus” but it was easier to make “squid” scan.

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