Jean Arthur sparkles in this wartime comedy, as Molly Truesdale, a sweet, pretty salesgirl overwhelmed by 3 overzealous suitors! To get some peace and quiet, she takes a bus tour out west, a trip that sounded romantic in the travel brochures, but grows tedious, after monotonous days pass, and she has to fend off passes by the bus tour guide (Phil Silvers, in one of his many terrific comic relief roles of the '40s)!
Truesdale finally decides to combat her 'cabin fever' on the bus by attending a rodeo. She has a wonderful time, until one of the contestants literally falls into her lap! As the two disentangle themselves, she gets a good look at Duke Hudkins (John Wayne), and it's love at first sight!
Duke is the suitor she'd always dreamed of; handsome, virile, and 'all-man', and she begins a pursuit of the cowboy that is both uncharacteristic for her, and confusing for him! Despite warnings from his best friend, Waco (Charles Winninger) that this girl was after more than just a night of partying and passion, Duke invites Molly out, and the innocent city girl experiences her first evening of carousing! When, at evening's end, she puts the brakes on his amorous advances, he discovers she's not just another 'groupie', and that he's falling for her, too!
A romantic comedy of 'opposites' finding true love, 'A Lady Takes a Chance' benefits from the delightful performances of the two leads! Jean Arthur had a Meg Ryan-like quality of projecting both innocence and sexiness, and she makes Molly's transition from 'pursued' to 'pursuer' both believable, and understandable! John Wayne is equally good, sexy and easy-going, yet conveying Duke's confusion at the feelings he has for Molly, and his gradual realization that he'll have to 'take a chance', himself, to earn her love!
True, the tale follows your basic 'boy meets girl-boy loses girl-boy gets girl' scenario, but under the sure direction of pros William A. Seiter (who directed Astaire and Rogers in 'Roberta', and Shirley Temple, in 'Stowaway'), and Henry Hathaway (the legendary filmmaker who would direct Wayne's Oscar-winning performance in 'True Grit', 26 years later), the story has a freshness and charm that is unbeatable!
Whether you're a Wayne and Arthur fan, or you just love a romantic comedy with a happy ending, 'A Lady Takes a Chance' will bring a smile!