8 June 2010 | bkoganbing
Broadway Goes To The Wide Open Spaces
Never A Dull Moment is based on the book written by Broadway composer Kay Swift who gave up the bright lights of Broadway to settle down as a rancher's wife. Although it won't make the list of Irene Dunne's best films, it does have its amusing aspects and holds up pretty good today.
The real Kay Swift according to her Wikipedia biography in 1939 met a rodeo cowboy and in a whirlwind courtship, married him and settled down on his ranch. Previously Swift whose two best known songs, popular to this day are Fine And Dandy and Can't We Be Friends, was involved in a long term relationship with George Gershwin. She had also been married before and I believe Philip Ober's character is based on her ex-husband, Paul James.
In any event the film bears some similarities to another true story about urbanites moving to the country, The Egg And I in which Fred MacMurray also starred. Nobody could ever complain about Fred MacMurray as a light leading man in comedies. But as he himself said in westerns, even modern ones, the horse and he were never as one. The part MacMurray plays is not to dissimilar from the one John Wayne did in A Lady Takes A Chance. I think the Duke would have been great in the role and we would have seen a once in a lifetime teaming of Irene Dunne and John Wayne.
Natalie Wood and Gigi Perreau play MacMurray's two daughters who take to Dunne quite easily, none of the stepmother angst in this film. And William Demarest has a great role as a grumpy old neighbor that MacMurray and Dunne have to put up with because he has the source of their water on his property.
Not a great comedy for Dunne like The Awful Truth, Theodora Goes Wild, or My Favorite Wife, but an amusing film that will please her fans.