when you’re in the capable hands of a master (like preston sturges) you know that anything is possible; and he uses this to his advantage. this fact, coupled with the fact that i tend to watch films the first time around, rather than actively analyze them, allowed me to have quite a fun experience with this film. this isn’t to say that, without the surprise factor, i would have any less fun a time watching it, but it would be different. i should mention that the “surprise” isn’t a huge one when you think about it, and really isn’t that large a part of the film, but it did fool me and had me quite enthralled.
sturges is in top form here. his writing is taut, smart and funny – three things lacking in mainstream media these days. his direction is ahead of its time – there are hints of john hughes (use of sound) and hitchcock as well as chaplin/keaton and films like 2001 and breaking away (because of their use of classical music). rex harrison is perfect for the role as is his female counterpart (linda darnell – that’s two of her films in two days). darnell is luminescent, soft and divine here – everything she isn’t in “fallen angel.” i’ll have to see more of her in the future. in a large way she is the crux of the film from a character perspective. if not for her ability to sell the role and the relationship with harrison in the first act, the rest of the film might fall flat in the character department. sturges’ use of classical music is another highlight of the film. he uses it for dramatic effect as well as to demarcate fact from fiction. again, the script is great in large part because of sturges’ writing. it’s funny and employs colorful language that inspires the writer in all of us. great film.