Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1941. RKO Radio Pictures. Screenplay by Norman Krasna. Cinematography by Harry Stradling Sr.. Produced by Harry E. Edington. Music by Edward Ward. Production Design by Van Nest Polglase, Albert S. D’Agostino. Costume Design by Irene. Film Editing by William Hamilton.
A casual viewer catching this one on late-night television will be shocked after the title credits bearing director Alfred Hitchcock’s name soon lead to a revelation of the film’s story: it’s a friendly comedy about a couple who decide to divorce. Halfway through, you might find yourself waiting for a murder or a time bomb set to explode, but no such luck. This was one of Hitch’s rare forays into breezy comedy and he does it perfectly well. Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard shine as the bickering duo who decide after much marital discord that they’ve had enough of each other and that it is the right time to go their separate ways. Unfortunately, circumstances keep throwing them together, to the point where they realize that maybe they’re not as ready for a split as they originally thought. Certainly an optimistic viewpoint of the finality of relationships, but nothing out of the Stone Age either, especially because Lombard’s comedic wit still feel contemporary to this very day.