Wedding Present (1936)

PG-13   |    |  Comedy, Romance


Wedding Present (1936) Poster

When Charlie Mason is promoted from irresponsible reporter to hard-nosed city editor, it costs him his girlfriend, ace reporter Rusty Fleming. After he hears she's engaged to another, he quits and tries to win her back.

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6.4/10
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  • Cary Grant and Joan Bennett in Wedding Present (1936)
  • Cary Grant, Joan Bennett, and Inez Courtney in Wedding Present (1936)
  • Cary Grant and Joan Bennett in Wedding Present (1936)
  • Cary Grant and Joan Bennett in Wedding Present (1936)
  • Cary Grant and Joan Bennett in Wedding Present (1936)

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21 June 2006 | tedg
Stories, Sex, Writing, Image
One thing I absolutely love about films from the 30s is the now obsolete devices around which some films are centered. Locomotives and ships of course. They're a bit obvious. Then, they were symbols of technology and modernity. Technology as physical power — something in everyone's cinematic imagination then — now made quaint by microchips we cannot even see. And films are the worse for it.

Another device is the newsroom. We don't have these today in the same way. Reporters and cops don't mix it up as they used to. We don't actually "get the story," instead get some sort of manufactured fiction that glues facts together in appealing ways.

But 70 years ago there was a magical confluence of what it meant to make or discover stories, what it meant to "see," and what it meant to be an American. Mixed in there was this notion of an alert woman.

Its hard to impress on youngsters beyond a cartoonish awareness that women in society and film were extremely limited in options. Homemaker, secretary, teacher, nurse. Whore. If a woman was intelligent and witty and active, she was a reporter.

Seeing and discovering was sexy. Its lost today, that effect. This is post-code; "Picture Snatcher" is a better example where the sexiness is darned explicit.

Imagine a film that presents a woman far beyond your experience, what you know from real life. Imagine her witty and sexually available outside marriage, at least temporarily so. Smart, full of humor and ready to play severe and grand jokes. Its impossible to do today where Angelina can fight, Tilda can control and Julianne can affect.

But just imagine the cinematic power of a newsroom with such juice. The folding, of course with them writing stories and we seeing stories simultaneously. Our admiration of her just as Grant's and both of us conspiring in creating a spectacle around her.

(For those who haven't seen it the story is Cary and Joan are lovers — copulation is obvious — and both are star reporters. They decide NOT to marry as not to "ruin things." He advances to control the paper (the story) and she becomes engaged to a book writer. The books in question are vapid "self-help" books that lack the vim of "real" stories. Grant, drunk and with the help of a gangster pal, conspires to give her firetrucks, policecars, ambulances, even a hearse, all responding to the house where she will wed. That's the present: life.)

Oh how I wish we had such power to pull from in film today! Where's the sex in story, the newsroom of today?

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.

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