Bridal Sweet

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Even by the lax – oh, so deliciously lax! – standards of the pre-code era, it’s a surprise in YOUNG BRIDE to find husband and wife Eric Linden and Helen Twelvetrees sharing a marital bed right before our eyes, of Linden showering in full view of his wife. The liberating effect of seeing such ordinary stuff which was usually suppressed is oddly touching.

Also eye-opening is the way Linden’s no-good pals Cliff ‘Ukukele ike’ Edwards, Polly Moran and Arline Judge transform from comedy relief proletariat in the Warner Bros vein, to a pack of baying wolves, hungry for blood. Warners films could get pretty dark, but they were rarely predicated on the notion that ordinary people are horrible. This movie depicts a rather frightening world, in which the innocent heroes seem ill-equipped for survival.

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Linden is cast as a Cagneyesque braggart, which he falls fascinatingly short of – the character’s inability to live up to his own self-image is immediately obvious rather than being slowly revealed – in Cagney’s hands, the self-disgust would have been buried twenty feet deeper.

Twelvetrees is fluent and natural and quite touching. She’s called upon to discover a core of strength as the story goes on, which is more of a stretch and therefore more satisfying to see.

It’s an RKO-Pathe production – The Chicken that Conquered the World. Pair it with yesterday’s slutty polar bear.

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Less TV! More pre-codes! New Year’s Resolution #48.

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