1948’s Oscar winner for Best Original Screenplay comes in the form of The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, written by Sidney Sheldon.
Starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and Shirley Temple, the movie follows Margaret and Susan Turner, sisters living together with a mother-daughter sort of relationship. Margaret is an uptight, emotion-avoiding judge, while Susan is an emotion-driven, precocious 17-year-old high-school student. Their relationship is summed up well in the first five minutes when Margaret says to Susan, “You know I’d die for you, but sometimes it’s very hard living with you.”
We have two meet-cutes right away, when Margaret lets Richard Nugent, a playboy artist, off the hook for a brawl in which he played a part. That one is quickly followed by Susan falling for Richard as he gives a speech on art at her high school. Susan quickly decides Richard is her knight in shining armor, and she schemes herself into his apartment unbeknownst to him. Chaos, of course, ensues. Richard is arrested, but they decide to drop the charges if he agrees to pretend to date Susan in order to let her outgrow her little fantasy without scarring her for life.
Got all that? OK. What follows is an enjoyable if predictable romantic comedy with amusing performances from all parties. I believe this may have been my first Cary Grant film, and I understood Margaret’s point when she told Richard, “I’ve never been subjected to such charm before.”
The dinner scene where the strings of everyone’s schemes unravel is very well-done, and it’s always fun to see refined men doing unrefined things like the potato sack race, three-legged race and obstacle course during the picnic sequence. Additionally, the last scene went for a great bit of bookend dialog instead of the typical rom-com cheese ending, which I appreciated.
The movie’s not phenomenal, but, thanks for the clever and sharply delivered dialog, it’s the first chronologically in the project that’s been consistently enjoyable.
Set-up: Richard has just complimented Margaret on her dress.
Margaret: “You said that gracefully. Perhaps the result of practice?”
Richard: “You said that ungraciously. Perhaps the result of practice, hm?”