The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)

Approved   |    |  Comedy, Romance


The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947) Poster

A high school girl falls for a playboy artist, with screwball results.


7.2/10
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  • Shirley Temple and Myrna Loy in The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)
  • Cary Grant and Shirley Temple in The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)
  • Shirley Temple and Steve Wayne in The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)
  • Cary Grant and Rudy Vallee in The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)
  • Cary Grant and Shirley Temple in The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)
  • Cary Grant and Shirley Temple in The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)

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4 July 2010 | dougdoepke
Threading the Needle
Want some insight into what titillated movie-goers in the post-war 1940's? This 1947 RKO production is a good place to start. There's the marquee value of a seductively handsome Cary Grant coupled with that spunky symbol of all-American innocence Shirley Temple, enough at the time to draw in ticket-buying throngs with its naughty innuendo of daring departure and forbidden pleasure. In fact, the underage subtext lingers beneath much of the movie's plot and humorous settings, but in a totally innocent manner, proving that this is not yet the more permissive 1960's. One slip, however, and this light-hearted soufflé could easily have become burnt-toast of the most tasteless variety. Fortunately, there are no slips.

Once the pace picks up, this comedy sparkles as brightly as any other Cary Grant madcap, which is to say, about as good as comedy gets. The nightclub scene is an absolute triumph of timing, staging, and scripting. The laughs build as the party table becomes more and more chaotic, interrupted by one petty annoyance after another, finally reducing the worldly Grant to speechless exasperation. This is the type of soaring comedic architecture that requires real artistry, but has been sadly replaced in contemporary film by a dumbed- down world of bathroom jokes, insult gags, and other cheap forms of humor that appeal mainly to juveniles.

The movie itself, directed by an unheralded Irving Reis, is literally brimful of bounce and charm, leaving no one in doubt that the big war is over and America is ready for the future even if its libido is showing. With: a slyly endearing Ray Collins, a bemusedly prim Myrna Loy, a pompously befuddled Rudy Vallee, and a well-deserved Oscar for writer Sidney Sheldon, along with a final scene that could not be more apt. Despite the shift in public mores, audiences now as then should find this a highly entertaining ninety minutes of expert movie- making.

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