27 October 2014 | SimonJack
Crazy title fits a zany film
This is one of those movies when one wonders, after watching it, what the title had to do with the film. In this case, it is mentioned once – as the name of a mine that Mrs. Rimplegar (played superbly by Mary Boland) had poured a lot of money into – to the point of bankrupting her family. But, in afterthought, the title could be construed to describe the wacky family and household of the Rimplegars.
This isn't quite screwball comedy, but it comes close in places. The script for 'Three-Cornered Moon" isn't very tightly written and organized. But the collection of characters, with their individual pursuits and traits add up to some good laughs.
Claudette Colbert here has the look yet of a young starlet. The movie came out before she turned 30. Within the year, she would lose the very youthful look and become the more mature young woman in appearance for which most moviegoers remember her. Her role in this film is more subdued. Richard Arlen is the lead actor, but his role is less than that of most of the young men of the Rimplegar clan. They were played well by Wallace Ford, Tome Brown and William Bakewell. The rest of the supporting case were all quite good.
This comedy of frenzy has a nice theme – of the once rich and selfish learning how to work and share for the good of all. That theme should have played very well in 1933. It was right in the middle of the depression and Dust Bowl. America had its highest unemployment ever. Many families were suffering and wanting. Hollywood did a lot to help lift the spirits of America during this time with its many wonderful comedy films and inspirational stories. At least one reviewer noted that there were many movies of this type during that time. True, but this is one of the early ones, and a good warm-up for some much better films that followed.
With a little more work on the script and some better direction, "Three-Cornered Moon" could have been a much better film. As it is, it's a fun movie with several good laughs that most viewers should enjoy.