19 October 2010 | ksf-2
fun, upbeat war-time flick
W.A.W. opens up in a magazine publishing office, where they are discussing how to interview the latest best-selling author, who no-one has ever met. Flash to Carol Ainsley (R. Russell, nominated for four Oscars), who is the agent for the un-seen author. She is determined to track down the author (played by Willard Parker), and doesn't realize the can of worms that revealing him may open... Brian Aherne is "Pepper", a magazine editor who is writing a story on Ainsley, and keeps popping up where-ever Ainsley goes. For most of the film, he is sitting in chairs, waiting for Ainsley to go through the doorway, or come back from where-ever she has been.
Keep an eye out for some fun supporting characters - Carol's assistant is played by Grady Sutton is a few years after making those hilarious W.C. Fields films. The office secretary is played by Norma Varden, who was so great as Lady Beekman in "Gentlemen Prefer Blonds". The mens dormitory clerk is Chester Clute, who looks and sounds just like Mel Blanc. Unfortunately, all these actors have very few lines; given a few more lines, they could have spiced the film up a bit. Russell does a great job, and carries the film well. It's a lot of fun to watch, although it's more plain and simple than I was expecting; after seeing her in "Friday", I was hoping for more plot twists. She has the same, strong, fast-talking personality that she had in "His Girl Friday". It was refreshing to watch an upbeat, war-time movie without a single mention of the war. Directed by Irving Cummings, who had directed Shirley Temple in four films in the 1930s. I hope Turner Classics starts showing this more often.