People who don't like kids, or kids in movies, probably won't like this film. But for all the rest of us, "And So They Were Married" is a good comedy romance. It has a couple of hilariously funny scenes.
This movie is along the lines of "Parent Trap" of 1961, "The courtship of Eddie's Father" of 1963 and similar films about single-parent kids. "Parent Trap" was twin girls (both roles played by Hayley Mills) trying to get their divorced mom and dad back together. Others are about kids going through experiences of single parents meeting someone new and possibly tying the knot anew.
But this film is an original story and may be the first of kids and single parents flicks. Two spoiled kids - not brats or nasty, just from wealthy single parents, try everything they can to keep their single parents from marrying. And everything they do backfires in an unusual way. It's a very clever device in the writing of this screenplay. And, the two adults start off disliking one another intensely.
All of this occurs at the grand opening of a new snow-packed winter lodge in the Sierra Nevada's not far from Los Angeles. It concludes later back home, with a change in the kids' plans. But, for the first day, just the two parties get through the mountain road before a huge landslide closes it for the day.
Melvin Doulas is the widowed dad, Stephen Blake, of 10-year-old Tommy Blake who's played by Jackie Moran. Mary Astor is the divorced mother, Edith Farnham, of Brenda, who is about the same age as Tommy. The Farnham's have their maid with them on the winter vacation, but Stephen's son arrives the second day.
The two kids do quite a bit of conniving and are very good at it, and all the time disliking one another themselves. One can guess where this might end up, but all of this cast do very well in keeping the film interesting and fun. A few other characters contribute. Donald Meek is the Hotel Manager, Dorothy Stickney is Miss Peabody, the social hostess, Romaine Callendar is Mr. Snirley, the sporting host, and Douglas Scott plays Horace, a third child who gets involved in some of the mishaps.
One absolute hilarious scene occurs after Brenda has let Tommy's dog, Harold, take several bites out of a bar of soap. The dog then scampers out of their room and down the hall, and as he barks and heads down the stairs in the main hotel foyer where dozens of people are carousing, Harold's mouth starts foaming up. One of the guests sees the dog and yells, "Look, a mad dog," and people frantically scramble everywhere.
The screenplay is a little choppy and the quality of this early Columbia film seems a little crude. But, it's otherwise a funny film that most people should enjoy. Kids should enjoy it too, and parents will want to give them appropriate words or glances. Here are some favorite lines.
Hotel manager, on the grand opening night when a snowslide has blocked the road, "25 waiters, four chefs, a 10-piece jazz band, and two guests...oooh."
Mr. Ralph P. Snirley, "That's it - courage is the word. I always tell my students to think of the snow as a great feather bed."
Edith Farnham, "Just to get away from that germicidal female, you understand?" Stephen Blake, "Perfectly! I'm the lesser of two evils." Edith, "You're practically psychic."
Edith Farnham, "Don't tell me the stern Mr. Blake is flirting with me?" Stephen Blake, "Outrageously. Until the road clears, you might as well grin and bear it. Don't forget my proud beauty, it's the only flirting to be had in these parts." Edith, "Ha, ha, ha... Just until the road clears, huh?" Stephen, "Welllll."
Edith Farnham, "I know a good story that I never told you before. It's about seven men, and every last one of 'em was eaten up by an alligator." Brenda Farnham, giggling, "I'm gonna like this one."
Stephen Blake, "Did I ever tell you, you're the best dancer West of the Mississippi?" Edith, "No. Why didn't you?"
Stephen Blake, "At last I'm emancipated from being an emancipated parent." Edith, "Are you drunk?"
Stephen Blake, "Edith, do I have to do penance all the rest of my life just because I spanked a spoiled child?"
Stephen Blake, "I don't like hysterical women." Edith, "Hysterical?" Stephen, "That's what I said - you're hysterical." Edith, "I suppose you'll be striking me next."
Stephen Blake, "See this muscle. I got that beating helpless women and little children, but first I practiced on cripples."