4 February 2013 | AlsExGal
Remember that the Depression had not set in yet
Before you judge this film for ignoring "banking realities" of 1930, remember that the banks did not fail en masse until 1933. The Depression really didn't hit jobs that hard until late 1930, so this film, although made in 1930, is really still reflecting the lifestyle and philosophy of the roaring 20's. It does make you want to fast forward about five years and see how our rather empty-headed protagonists Tommy Mills (Arthur Lake) and Marie Thurber (Sue Carol) have managed to weather the Depression. Something tells me they are not exactly George and Mary Bailey when it comes to true grit, but I digress.
The story boils down to the fact that a small town girl, Marie Thurber, can't make up her mind as to whether she'd rather marry Tommy Mills, who will own the town's bank someday, or Bernard Norton (Alan Bunce), who owns the local auto dealership. Marie's parents are on Tommy's side, mainly because Tommy is heir to a bank and the Thurbers still own a livery stable which is in financial trouble, and Bernard is symbolic of their failure since he trades in autos.
All of this would make you think that Tommy is in like flint, but there are problems. First, Marie may be rather empty-headed, but what room she has in her noggin she has filled with wanting to be contrary to her parents wishes. Thus even though she says she loves Tommy she might marry Bernard just to go against them. Also, Tommy is very passive and Bernard is aggressive, having even gone out and gotten a marriage license before knowing Marie's answer to his proposal. Fortunately, Tommy has Marie's uncle on his side whose advice is to make Marie's parents dislike him since that will put him in first place with Marie.
If all of this seems rather fluffy and goofy and even sexist, it is. But it is also fun if you just enjoy it for what it is - a farcical romantic comedy and a last hurrah for the roaring 20's. Marie actually doesn't act too fond of either of these guys and never seems to consider that maybe she should look longer and harder for a suitor, but that's another story.
Watch it for a glimpse into American life when extended families were still the norm, when the son of a bank president actually worked as a teller to get a feel for the business, for William Collier Sr., a man born during the Civil War, making a successful transition to talkies as the only adult in the room - or the whole film for that matter, and for one of the few films in which Emily Fitzroy isn't playing a villainess.