25 May 2007 | blanche-2
An author meets her fictional hero in person - so she thinks
Claudette Colbert chases a soldier "Without Reservations" in this 1946 film which also stars John Wayne, Don DeFore, and Ann Triola, with cameos by Louella Parsons, Cary Grant, Jack Benny, and Delores Moran as themselves. Colbert plays a best-selling author, Christopher Madden, who has written a book about the world post-war - it looks to be a combination of "Gone with the Wind" and "Atlas Shrugged." En route by train to Hollywood to do the screenplay, she is extremely distressed to learn that Cary Grant will not be available to do the movie version and is writing a telegram to the producer when she comes face to face with her fictional hero in the flesh. He's a soldier named Rusty (Wayne) going to San Diego with his pal, Dink (DeFore). She doesn't tell them her identity, giving her name as Kit Klatch. Kit decides she has to have Rusty star in the film so instead of boarding the train that will take her to L.A., she gets on the train going to San Diego. This leads to all sorts of adventures for the threesome, and it's obvious that Kit and Rusty, despite very opposing political views, have fallen in love.
Colbert is delightful as usual, and DeFore, kind of a Jack Carson type, is always pleasant to watch. The surprise for some will be John Wayne who's not riding a horse or wearing a cowboy hat. Frankly, this writer has always preferred him that way. I'm not a particular fan of westerns, and the plainclothes Wayne seems handsomer and less stiff somehow. He's playing the role of someone whose beliefs are close to his own in real life, i.e., somewhere to the left of Genghis Khan, while the Colbert character is a socialist. Tall and handsome, he does the romantic scenes well; one wishes he'd stayed out of the saddle more often.
This is a light, fun comedy that takes place in a world that, like Kit, doesn't quite know which direction to take post-World War II. Sixty-one years later, we still haven't figured it out, and "Without Reservations" remains an entertaining film.