24 July 2020 | TheLittleSongbird
Vying for love
'Suddenly It's Spring' had potential to work a lot better than it did. Romance and comedy have been known to work well together, especially in the golden age regardless of the state of the story. Mitchell Leisen will never be one of my favourite directors any time soon, but he was a far from amateurish director and a number of his films are well worth the while. Paulette Goddard and Fred MacMurray were agreeable actors in their own way and worked well together elsewhere.
They do here too and are the main reason to see 'Suddenly It's Spring'. Which is a little above average as a film, without Goddard, MacMurray and their chemistry though it possibly would have been barely average, but could have done with a lot more inspiration and done more with familiar ground. 'Suddenly It's Spring' is not a bad film, not at all. There's just nothing special about it at the same time but that is my point of view and if people liked it better good for them. It is understandable too though if others liked it less than me.
Will start with the good things. As said, Goddard, MacMurray and their chemistry are the reasons to see 'Suddenly It's Spring'. MacMurray comes off the better of the two, his character is a boorish one but MacMurray still manages to bring some charm and agreeable comic timing to him. Goddard is more than at ease in comedy, it was always a strength of hers and she doesn't overdo it (even when trying to make her material more interesting than it was), and is elegant and full of class. They work great together, their chemistry having wit and grace.
Luckily there are other good things too, despite how my second paragraph sounded. It is an attractive looking film with classy production values. Victor Young provides a score that matches the elegance and with typically lush but luckily not over-sentimental scoring. The script does have enough moments of sophisticated wit and doesn't get too silly and never gets mawkish. Leisen does have some competent enough directing, especially in his direction of Goddard, MacMurray and their interaction.
He did do a lot better though with films where he was in full command of the material. 'Suddenly It's Spring' is not one of those films, it's one of those films that has moments but feels somewhat undistinguished and lacking in spark. It would have helped hugely if MacDonald Carey and Arlene Whelan's characters were far more interesting. Carey's character is so dull that it is hard to believe what any of the characters sees in him and Carey plays the character with very little personality. The chemistry between him and Goddard is near-non existent as well. Whelan's character is not as bland but Whelan's acting is pretty workmanlike with not much spark and she is at times annoying. She doesn't have much chemistry with Carey either.
The story has moments but it's familiar territory concept-wise and the execution is equally lacking in freshness. It has some wit and pleasant charm but tends to be uninspired and predictable with much playing out exactly as one would expect, that's including the convenient ending which is obvious as soon as one sees which couple is easier to root for and more interesting. Maybe more energy wouldn't have gone more amiss too, that dissipates later on when the material becomes more obvious.
All in all, slightly above average but nothing special. 6/10