31 August 2020 | SimonJack
"Goodness" wins out in this depression era dream come true film
"Small Town Girl" has an appropriate title. So many young people of the 1930s through 1950s in small town America dreamed of leaving for other places, especially the cities with their excitement and opportunities. (I was one in the later period who imagined traveling around the world for adventure and excitement.) Janet Gaynor is Kay Brannan who works in the family grocery store that is run by her brother, George. They are in a rural town through which the traffic for the Harvard-Yale football game must travel due to a road detour.
Kay dreams of leaving her boring life for excitement, and has the opportunity when Bob Dakin (Robert Taylor) pulls up to ask for directions and coaxes her to go to a famous tavern for dinner and a party. Dakin isn't a college kid but a wealthy doctor from a Boston blue-blood family. He calls Kay, "Goodness." Having imbibed loads of champagne, the two wake up a justice of the peace and get married. On their way to Boston, Bob runs off the road and they sleep in the car.
The next morning, Bob doesn't remember the night before, but Kay helps him put the pieces together. That, and their marriage license in his pocket. He had no choice but to take her home to meet his folks and ask his dad to get him out of this mess before his fiancé, Priscilla Hyde (Binnie Barnes) finds out.
Thus begins some comedy, drama and a story that sees a wealthy, playboy, irresponsible doctor on the verge of alcoholism, straighten out over time. It has a very happy ending for all. Well, all except Elmer Clampett, the local utility lineman who just got a promotion to foreman and hoped to marry Kay. But, he showed small town manners by wishing Kay well. James Stewart plays Elmer in just his sixth film. His character is very affable as the home-town boy. All of the cast give good performances.
This is a sweet girl movie of the 1920s and 1930s for which Gaynor was known. Her nickname clearly applied for her role in this film. Gaynor's career started in silent films of the mid-1920s. She was very popular with fans and at the box office. She won the first Oscar for best actress - in 1929. She left acting in 1936, at just age 32, except for an occasional return for a film in the 1950s.
This is a very good comedy drama that most people should enjoy. Her are some favorite lines.
Bob Dakin, "I'm tired of being a grouch, aren't you?" Kay Brannan, "I never was. But I was getting to be." Bob, "Forgive me?" Kay, "Of course."
Kay Brannon, "No, but just the thought of feeling you're able to take poor, sick bodies and put them together, and have them put all their trust in you... when they're scared and clinging to life - that's a marvelous thing."
Bob Dakin, "I guess you're just a funny little kid." Kay Brannon, "That's the nicest thing you've ever said to me."