1 February 2008 | tedg
Wash Yourself, Watch Yourself
I saw this with another RKO Ginger Rogers film from the same year.
Even though these are targeted as light entertainment, I am amazed at how fresh they feel and how experimental the structure is.
That lightness is often attributed to the lack of the Hayes Code, which lowered its dark curtain the following year. Its clear in retrospect that this was a bad thing, that it wounded an entire society, and would have destroyed it altogether had we not encountered a similar more obvious evil. And went to war.
But how does one know what is right around the corner? How does one celebrate the freedoms that are about to be taken away? Its a haunting thing in the background of this, as part of the joke is that this perfect man is "the purest of Anglo-Saxons." Another part of the joke is that sweetness, goodness and happiness is contrasted with black jive, sex and Harlem, all of which are "fun."
The structure of the thing is pretty sophisticated. Many films from these four years 1930- 33 were similarly adventuresome in their structure.
Its a show about sex and domestic values within which is a show (a radio show) about sex and domestic values. (The domestic hook is literally a dishrag.) Around this show are a collection of nattering men trying to engineer romance and predictably failing. If you study the narrative structure of date movies, you'll be familiar with tricks about how to reflect the viewer in the story. Its rather novel and somewhat perfect here.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.