- by Zoë Shaw
Charlie is a funloving
scatterbrain who is suddenly thrust into a responsible editorial position at
the paper where he works. He carries things too far, and causes his
girlfriend, Rusty, to announce her engagement to Dodacker. He is not so much
bothered about losing her as he is about what wedding present to give. He
sends everything he can think of, and on the wedding day, drives up in an
ambulance and kidnaps the bride!
- by Debbie Dunlap
You know the old saying,
"It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it." Usually this saying is
said with tongue in cheek; meaning that you're actually thrilled to have to do
it. In the case of reviewing this movie, it WAS a tough job, but somebody HAD to do,
and since this is my site, the job fell to me. Now that I've taken two aspirin,
perhaps I can muddle through.
was one of the last of the movies that I found. I was eager to see it after
thoroughly enjoying "Big Brown Eyes," also with the pairing of Joan Bennett and
Cary. Perhaps it is somewhat of a sequel to "Big Brown Eyes," I
thought. (I've often felt that "Holiday" & "Philadelphia
Story" fit nicely together in that way.) What I thought before watching
"Wedding Present" and what I thought after were two entirely different
Disjointed. There are
characters introduced and discarded like a bad poker hand. There are circumstances
created and abandoned like a tornado scatters anything and everything in its path.
Emotions run the gamut. High-handed highjinks, angry outbursts, stuffed
shirts and drunken devilry. Who can follow it all?!
Cary is Charlie the madcap
newspaperman. Joan is Rusty, Charlie's unconventional sidekick. Together they
bedevil the city editor and bring in the big stories using every unconventional method
possible. Charlie and Rusty scorn convention & ridicule those who enforce it,
namely, the city editor.
However, under Rusty's
unconventional facade, lies the heart of a girl who just wishes her man would settle down
for just a day and marry her nice and proper. Charlie can't, won't, doesn't.
While Rusty is on vacation,
Charlie is promoted to city editor. Rusty returns to find Charlie conventional and
tyrannical in his new position, the very image of what the two had always despised.
The unconventional girl who longed for a conventional wedding, finds this straight-laced
Charlie an unpleasant prospect and packs her bags permanently for New York.
When the owner of the
newspaper commends Charlie for exemplary service, Charlie recognizes himself for the chump
he has become and tosses all away to follow his true love. Unfortunately, Rusty, now
engaged to a boring, bookish fellow, refuses Charlie's advances.
On the eve of Rusty's wedding,
Charlie, crying in his beer and wishing the best for his girl, drunkenly plans the perfect
wedding present for Rusty. He calls in every ambulance, fire truck, policeman,
serviceman, and even a hearse for a grand false alarm at the home of Rusty's fiancée.
The newspaper woman in Rusty reacts with delight to the action, the heart of the
woman in love sees clearly that what she really wanted all along was Charlie just the way
he always was. They ride off into the sunset ... seated on the top of an ambulance
headed for the insane asylum.
Film Review - November 25, 1936
- by "Odec"
- submitted by Barry Martin
It takes the final reel to
save this one from developing into a complete void of
entertainment. But even that final reel hasn't enough wallop
to put 'Wedding Present' in the running for top position in a dual
setup. About the only persons who give the impression that
they feel they've really got something in 'Present' are Cary Grant
and Joan Bennett. They try hard, but the combination of
story, direction and whatnot is pretty much against
Paul Gallico must have
founded the yarn on the fabled antics of Ben Hecht and Charles
MacArthur; only in this case he's mixed the sexes. His
screwball star reporters, as played by Miss Bennett and Grant, are
not only pitched in far-fetched concepts of the craft but they're
loaded down with so many and frequent shifts of mood that the task
of following them is made no easy one for the average fan.
When in the latter phase of the film the pace picks up perceptibly
and the proceedings take on a bona fide air of farce there's lots
of cause for chuckles.
First couple of reels
are devoted to showing how dizzy but at the same time brilliant
this news-hounding twosome can be. Next two reveal Grant
going city editor, serious and stuffshirt, with the ensuing
footage expatiating on his reformation, pursuit of the girl and
concoction of a nightmarish gag which wins her back. Goof as
is the behavior of this twosome the real mitt for travesty goes to
the director's idea of how boys comport themselves around a city
gets the job of city ed after he has driven his predecessor,
George Bancroft, to hoarseness and resignation. Grant
simonlegrees the city room crew and when he resents the attempt of
the girl to deflate him she quits the job and goes to New
York. He, out of loneliness, walks himself soon after and
when he gets to New York Grant finds that the girl had engaged
herself to a writer of inspiration books, Conrad Nagel. She
spurns Grant's reconciliation approaches and the reporter,
recalling the girl's weakness for fires and other like
excitements, pulls out the town's various emergency vehicles and
yeomen, including firemen and cops; all of which turns the
trick. The fadeout scene has the twosome in a clinch on the
roof of a pickup-wagon for the psychopathic ward.
William Demarest, Gene
Lockhart and Edward Brophy do well in helping to make comedy,
while Nagel makes the most of his straight role. With
Demarest it's the part of a gang leader who's trying hard to pay
off a debt to Grant. Brophy chalks up more than one laugh as
the punchdrunk mugg who obeys the boss' orders literally.
YORK TIMES Film Review - November 19, 1936
- by B.R.C.
- submitted by Barry Martin
Paul Gallico's magazine story
about the newspaper reporter who decided to give his sob-sister
girl friend a four-alarm fire to commemorate her wedding to
another man was perhaps not exactly art, but it was a
masterpiece compared to the film version which bears the same
title ("Wedding Present") and is now on view at the
new Criterion Theatre. In picturizing his people, Mr. Gallico,
who is also responsible for the screen story, makes them seem
even more painfully inventions for the sake of a smash climax
than they did on the printed page.
The climax, of course - the only
really substantial part of the yarn - has its noisily amusing
features. Cary Grant is the reporter who piles up all the lovely
apparatus over which Mr. Gallico waxed so lyrical in his story -
the ambulances, emergency trucks, police radio cars, etc. -
under Joan Bennett's window, and touches her heart so
effectively with this unique serenade that she can no longer
refuse to marry him. George Bancroft, Conrad Nagel and Gene
Lockhart are the principal abetting members of the cast.
- by Kathy Fox
WEDDING PRESENT is
Cary Grant's 13th film and his second with Joan Bennett, that being BIG
BROWN EYES also in 1936. This is a little, cutesy film, with Grant
playing Charlie Mason and Bennett playing his girlfriend, Rusty. They
are newspaper people and are in love, but Charlie is quite the prankster.
Charlie and Rusty have a falling out and Charlie decides to win her back
once she has announced her marriage to a dull writer, Mr. Dodacker.
Rusty loves excitement and so Charlie, when drunk, calls up the fire
departments, police squads and ambulances to get her attention and win her
back. Grant was becoming increasingly dissatisfied with Paramount and
wanted to choose his own films, but they refused since he was still not a
major star. When negotiations were going on, Columbia approached Grant
to make his next film, WHEN YOU'RE IN LOVE, a much better movie, with opera
singer, Grace Moore.
<< Back to Reviews | Top of Page