Loretta Young, the toothy, huge-eyed leading lady, was known in Hollywood as "Attila the Nun", due to her evangelical Catholic faith (which extended to introducing a swear jar on set, something I'll have to implement at work) and iron will. She may have been voted the Hollywood Women's Press Club's most cooperative actress of 1950 (Bob Mitchum scooped their least cooperative actor gong), but then she always was a sassy self-publicist. Still, despite all that, and the bad press she's had in recent years for the whole Judy Lewis affair, she remains an attractive performer: ethereal and appealing in those early years, then a fitting screen mother as her fascinating looks ebbed away.
It Happens Every Thursday was her final film and it's a charming piece of Americana: something like the gentle cousin of Sam Fuller's Park Row, with a showy role for Young as the archetypal supportive wife – stoic, resourceful and loyal. John Forsythe is a New York newspaperman who buys his own small-town 'paper – the Eden Chronicle – and finds it's going to need a bit of work. The relationship between Forsythe and screen wife Young is smartly written and delightfully played, and the difficulties they face are nicely realised. The familiar baddie in such movies, a hateful, sniping little gossip gleefully ruining lives, is usually a harridan, but here you get a fey wannabe adulterer, played by Willard Wateman. The rest of the supporting cast is pretty much terrific, featuring the greatest character comic of them all, Frank McHugh, alongside Preston Sturges regular Jimmy Conlin and round-faced Edgar Buchanan, who's excellent in a surprisingly deep role. Best of all is the magnificent Gladys George (also appearing on the big screen for the final time), the most sympathetic brothel owner in '50s cinema. This blend of Johnny Come Lately and Mr Blandings could have seemed stale, but thanks to good scripting, pleasant plotting and lovely acting, it turns out just great.