July 5, 2011
Starring Jean Arthur, Robert Cummings, Charles Coburn, Edmund Gwenn, Spring Byington, S.Z. Sakall, William Demarest
Directed by Sam Wood
Plot: "A tycoon goes undercover to ferret out agitators at a department store, but gets involved in their lives instead." (from IMDb)
Despite the fact that the plot feels like one you've seen before—you know, the wealthy curmudgeon that encounters the populace and converts to simple living…or something like that—it's saved by great performances by Charles Coburn and the supporting cast. That cast includes Jean Arthur (perfect in this type of role), Edmund Gwenn (playing a very un-Kris-Kringle-like role. Gwenn had such range as an actor and is always a lively presence), Spring Byington (her ever-loving self), and S.Z. Sakall (the blustering butler). Robert Cummings is perhaps the one weak note in an otherwise talented ensemble.
Arthur and Coburn deliver some wonderful comedy (I especially like the scene where she is trying to muster courage to wop him over the head!)
If you enjoy '30s style Capra or just a good comedy, this is probably one that you’ll want to check out.