29 December 2007 | beyondtheforest
Garson a bit long in the tooth in dated dud of a remake
The Law and the Lady is an unnecessary remake of The Last of Miss Cheyney, which was filmed twice before (there is a Norma Shearer version and a Joan Crawford version, both of which are superior). This was resident MGM queen Greer Garson's turn in the role, in which she is miscast as a lady jewel thief. Although Garson was a beautiful woman and aged extremely well, she is slightly too mature for the role. At 46, she is still very pretty, but not effective at playing a mysterious and alluring femme fatale. As a poor woman masquerading as a lady in turn of the century San Francisco society, she is just a little bit too convincing as a lady. Greer Garson was perhaps unable to portray women of the lower class. She is entirely too classy to make this character work.
Furthermore, this appears to be a low-budget production, tailored for a fading star rather than a brilliant one. It is shot in black and white, the sets are nothing too extraordinary, and it has a shot-on-the-studio-lot feel to it, which makes it seem both dated and stuffy. This story had been around a long time by 1951, and it comes to the screen as tired as one would expect.
The writers apparently tried to inject some life in it through rewriting the script and changing some story elements, but overall it's nothing new. It's a mediocre film with mostly mediocre performances, even by the usually radiant Garson. One bright spot is Marjorie Main--she is indeed a hoot.
The Law and the Lady is, however, not a complete waste of time and if taken as light entertainment is a somewhat enjoyable movie for a rainy afternoon.