25 April 2008 | moonspinner55
There's nothing wrong with a little 'happily ever after', though sometimes it is strenuous...
Hedy Lamarr plays a foreign princess who travels with her entourage to New York City in the hopes of meeting up again with a former flame who writes a daily newspaper column (and detests royalty!); while staying in a swank hotel, the princess is befriended by a boyish, charming bellhop who develops a crush on her, despite the fact he's also playing big brother/boyfriend to a bed-ridden girl who lives in his walk-up. Very odd romantic comedy seems to lay the character eccentricities on a bit heavily...but once the mechanisms of the plot take hold, the players seem more at home within this scenario, which is jaunty and friendly more than funny. As the bellboy, Robert Walker doesn't seem to know whether to play his role like a grown-up or a klutzy kid--so he does both; he's very ingratiating with his double-takes and exasperated looks (he gives the hotel receptionist a beaut!), and a lengthy scene early on--with Walker reading a fairy tale out loud to his girl, and indeed the neighborhood--is very tricky yet easily pulled off by the actor. Lamarr is less successful; her royal visitor doesn't require a lot of joy or spontaneity, and she isn't reluctant to show her emotions, but still she's an awfully grim beauty, harboring love's disappointments. June Allyson has the strangest role, that of an invalid girl who can walk but chooses not to (?), but she beams like Judy Garland and her smile is a welcome relief after too much of Lamarr's scowling. There's a nice musical dream sequence that seems a little padded, yet the hotel staff, Agnes Moorehead's Countess, and Walker's cohorts are all a very likable bunch. Not a completely successful fantasy, but a well-produced, well-paced one with lots of happiness to go around. *** from ****