Merrily We Live

Merrily We Live with Constance Bennett and Brian Aherne.  The upper class Kilbournes have just lost their family silver to the latest of the tramps that Emily Kilbourne (Billie Burke) has brought into the house and tried to reform.  The rest of the family and all of their servants are fed up with their matriarch's penchant for bringing these ne'er-do-wells into their midst.  When dusty and travel-worn Wade Rawlins (Brian Aherne) shows up at their door asking to use the phone they are all dismayed that Emily immediately offers him a room and a job as their chauffeur.  Of course, Rawlins is not quite the tramp they all assume. Despite his inauspicious beginning Rawlins charms them all (except the butler played by Alan Mowbray) and wins the heart of Geraldine 'Jerry' Kilbourne (Constance Bennett), the Kilbournes' adult daughter.

The quirky Kilbournes together with their household staff provide a very fertile environment for amusing situations.  Billie Burke is at her daffiest (and was nominated for an Oscar for this role).  The father is played by Clarence Kolb and is very funny as the blustery and authoritarian patriarch, but also has a couple of beautiful slapstick scenes.  The younger daughter, played by Bonita Granville, reminds me of the precocious younger daughter in The Philadelphia Story.  The staff includes Alan Mowbray and Patsy Kelly.  The whole movie is well-paced and witty.  Highly recommended.

(Willie Best is even credited in this one)


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