1 February 2019 | boblipton
Natural Man And Urban Woman
Joel McCrea wants an outboard motor so he can dig more clams, his summer job. He heads down to Detroit, where they pay $5 a day, and hooks up with Eddie Bracken, the wise city dweller. Soon they have the motor and are paying it off, when Joel ups and marries Ellen Drew. He's been wrangling with her since the first reel, so you know they're in love. Ellen has no interest in smelly motors or the open pleasures of the forest. Plus they have a baby.
There's plenty of arguing between McRea and Drew, and a great fight at the plant between McRea and Albert Dekker using heavy equipment, but remarkably little cynicism in this rare William Wellman movie. Instead, it's about types of people and what they need to make them happy. If I wanted to be pompous, I would suggest that McRea is a natural, almost Rousseau-like man. More than that, he sees his woodland life as part of his identity. Throughout the movie, people tell him he can be just like everyone else. He doesn't want that.
It's a particularly good role for Ellen Drew. She was one of those actresses who had a few good roles and did a lot with them, yet never made it to the A list. Here she plays a Wellman woman, smart, argumentative and willing to hold her own.