3 May 2019 | TheLittleSongbird
'Now and Forever' had two main things going for it. A cast including Gary Cooper (not one of my favourite actors but a likeable one), Shirley Temple (one of cinema's most legendary child actresses for good reason) and Carole Lombard (always a delight to watch and her tragic premature death is still a great loss). Henry Hathaway directing a film atypical for him at that time. Also liked the idea for the story and was intrigued by Cooper and Lombard paired together.
There are a lot of good things about 'Now and Forever', but couldn't help feeling a bit disappointed and thinking that Cooper, Lombard, Temple and Hathaway have done better work in better films. Actually, 'Now and Forever' is a must for Temple, yet regarding Cooper and Lombard it is from personal opinion mainly to be seen if you want to see all of their films (am not saying that that is the only reason) and that is the case with Hathaway. Also if you're interested in seeing a film different from his minor westerns, when he was starting to move away from them and moving on to bigger features.
Starting with these good things, 'Now and Forever' looks beautiful and glossy (something that can be meant in a positive and negative way, but is positive in this case). With the gorgeous fashions standing out, Lombard as always looks wonderful and the photography clearly loves her. Temple's song "The World Owes Me a Living" is very sweet and she sings and performs it remarkably expertly for a six year old.
A warm glow can be found as well as charm, mostly provided by Temple. Laughs (early on though) and poignancy, like Temple's heart-wrenching reaction at her father's lie, are apparent. Hathaway fares quite competently, it could have had a lighter hand at times but this is not the work of an amateur. Guy Standing and Charlotte Granville come off best of the cast. The leads do very well, even if all three did better things. Cooper is charming and offbeat, even if his character is a weasel, and Lombard, though she could have had more to do in a role that is not particularly meaty, displays her usual elegance and charm with what she had. Stealing the film though is the delightfully adorable Temple who also showed a wide variety of emotions. The chemistry between the leads is nicely done, especially Cooper and Temple.
However, the sentimentality can go overboard and the script can be a little too talk-heavy and is uneven in quality (amiable at some points, plodding in others in the more serious moments).
The story can lose focus and doesn't always find the right tone, with some suspension of disbelief needed from the credulity straining. Do agree too that the ending juxtaposed too much dramatically and tonally with the rest of the film.
On the whole, pleasant but flawed. 6/10