20 December 2007 | benoit-3
Was there ever an American comedienne like Irene Dunne?
It is well known that Irene Dunne could sing somewhat more than a little. And I think her talent as a comedienne can only be really understood once one has struggled through a sonata by Haydn or a song by Debussy and made a success of it. Her instrument is her voice and her handling of it is pure musicianship. She could tackle any part. The only thing she couldn't do was to not make a success of it. This film is a perfect example. In it, she channels Ruth Gordon (because the play is the thing), is feminine, charming, willful and self-effacing, generous, protective and combative but never pretentious. She manages to stay as believable as Alexander Knox is in another difficult role he assumes with aplomb. The viewer gets to believe in what he is seeing and to care for it. It is refreshing to see a film that is both entertaining and intellectually challenging while pushing all the right patriotic buttons. I sincerely hope the entire Dunne oeuvre makes it to DVD one day because it's really hard to keep a secret like that among just a few initiates.