Woman Against Woman


Lawyer Stephen Holland (Herbert Marshall) is awakened to the problems in his marriage when his long-term nanny resigns.  His wife, Cynthia (Mary Astor), is selfish and manipulative, and there is no love in his marriage.  Braced with this new knowledge he refuses to give in to her next demand, but finds himself at loggerheads. He decides she will never change and divorces her, winning weekend visitation with their five-year-old daughter, Ellen.  A few months later Stephen meets Maris (Virginia Bruce) on a business trip to D.C.  He falls in love and marries her, and they return to his hometown where Cynthia still has the sympathy of the social set.  Maris is given the cold shoulder by the women of the town and Cynthia continues to play the wronged woman to make sure it stays that way.  Cynthia seems to be winning the war against Maris when she finally goes too far in using daughter Ellen against her husband.  Cynthia is exposed and Maris negotiates an armistice.

Mary Astor plays her part perfectly but as such is not very likeable.  Virginia Bruce is very likeable but does not look nearly as pretty when she has to stand next to Mary Astor.  Mary is quite the looker.  Herbert Marshall's character is a brilliant and confident lawyer, but he just gets batted around like a ping pong ball where women are concerned.

Annabel Takes a Tour


Lucille Ball is movie star Annabel Allison, who spars with her scheming publicity agent Lanny Morgan (Jack Oakie).  This is a follow-up movie to The Affairs of Annabel, which I gather has a similar plot.  The earlier movie is also from 1938 so maybe I will get to see it.  This is the first time (from 1938) I have seen Lucille Ball in the lead.  She takes a few prat falls  but most of the comedy belongs to Jack Oakie.

The Crowd Roars


This is a nice little boxing flick with a lot of familiar faces.  Robert Taylor plays boxer Tommy "Killer" McCoy.  His dad is played by Frank Morgan.  The gambler who buys his contract is Edward Arnold.  The boxer's love interest is Maureen O'Sullivan.  Maureen's school chum is Jane Wyman.  The gambler's competition is Nat Pendleton.  The trainer is played by Lionel Stander, whom I know as "Max" from Hart to Hart.

My Lucky Star


My Lucky Star with Sonja Henie.  Like my other Sonja Henie movie, Happy Landing, this has Cesar Romero playing the playboy scoundrel.  It also reprises my favorite gag from the earlier movie - Billy Gilbert as a server pushing a special that his customers don't want.  This time he is running a sweet shop and pushing the tutti frutti sundae (with pistachios) when his customers just want chocolate.

Okay, the plot:  Cesar Romero is the son of a wealthy New York department store owner.  He has impulsively married a gold digger played by Gypsy Rose Lee (but credited as Louise Hovak).  His wife intends to take him to the cleaners in the divorce if she can get proof that he is fooling around.  He obliges by luring store employee Sonja Henie to his apartment, where she is seen but not identified.  To prevent positive identification Romero hatches a scheme to enroll her in remote Plymouth University where her job will be to provide product placement for the women's winter-wear department by changing clothes five times a day.  Fortuitously, ice skating is a popular pastime there.  Romance and hijinks ensue.  There is a pretty cool "Alice in Wonderland" ice ballet at the end of the movie.

Buddy Ebsen has a prominent part, opposite Joan Davis of "I Married Joan" fame.  Fish and chips man Arthur Treacher has a small role as factotum to Romero's dad.  Paul Hurst (the Yankee deserter shot by Scarlett) plays Gypsy Rose Lee's detective friend.

Gypsy Rose Lee and Paul Hurst

Joan Davis and Buddy Ebsen

Three Comrades


Three Comrades starring Robert Taylor, Franchot Tone, Robert Young, and Margaret Sullavan.  Three disillusioned German soldiers return to a troublesome civilian life after World War I.  They meet a financially ruined former heiress, whom the youngest of the three marries.  Unfortunately she has recurring tuberculosis and does not have long to live.

This movie seems to be almost universally acclaimed but I didn't like it at all.  It was so serious!  I think there was one single scene in the movie that ended on a high note.  Every other scene was either outright sad, overlaid with hopelessness, or foreshadowing tragedy.  Blah.  I did like their souped-up car named "Baby", though.

This movie was based on a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, author of All Quiet on the Western Front.  The screenplay was at least partially written by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

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