Oil tycoon, Lucius K. Winfield (Eugene Pallette, The Adventures of Robin Hood), hires charter pilot, Steve Collins (James Cagney, Yankee Doodle Dandy), to kidnap his spoiled daughter, Joan Winfield (Bette Davis), and prevent her from marrying a musician, Allen Brice (Jack Carson, Mildred Pierce).
Reaction & Thoughts:
Too silly for words comedy that should have never been made. It’s an embarrassing attempt at screwball humor, even more horrendous if you consider the extraordinary talents involved in the making of the movie.
The script doesn’t have a single honest laugh, a real disappointment from the usually clever Epstein brothers (Casablanca and The Man Who Came to Dinner). The running joke has Cagney and Davis falling into a cactus. The first time is cute. The second and third time? It’s darn annoying! William Keighley’s (Special Agent) direction is lead-heavy and he never finds the proper rhythm so important in a film of this vintage. The film screams for the deft hand of someone like Howard Hawks or Preston Sturges. Even cameraman Ernest Haller’s work lacks finesse — the film looks ugly!
This ill-conceived project was producer Hal B. Wallis’s baby. He envisioned it as a change of pace for Warners’ top stars.
Personally, I thought it was rather sad to see these giants of cinema being squandered like this. You can immediately see why neither Cagney nor Davis were casted in comedies. Their timing is off and they screech their lines. Harry Davenport (All this, and Heaven Too) is the film’s sole saving grace. He plays an old geezer who tries to help the combative couple. Davenport’s easygoingness and sharp comedic timing save many scenes. The cast also includes George Tobias (Sergeant York) and Stuart Erwin (Pigskin Parade).
Conclusions & Final Thoughts:
The Bride Came C.O.D. has its defenders, but I’m not one of them. I guess that compared to an Adam Sandler comedy, this movie is a classic, but that’s really faint praise. B&W, 92 minutes, Not Rated.