Friday, August 5, 2011

Loving Lucy: Miss Grant Takes Richmond (1949)

Aug. 5, 2011

67. Miss Grant Takes Richmond (1949)

Starring Lucille Ball, William Holden, Janis Carter, James Gleason, Gloria Henry, Frank McHugh

Directed by Lloyd Bacon

Plot: "A bookie uses a phony real estate business as a front for his betting parlor. To further keep up the sham, he hires dim-witted Ellen Grant as his secretary figuring she won't suspect any criminal goings-on. When Ellen learns of some friends who are about to lose their homes, she unwittingly drafts her boss into developing a new low-cost housing development.” (from IMDb)

Since I haven’t seen many of Lucille Ball’s films, in honor of her 100th birthday blogathon I decided to view one of them. I honestly was not expecting much from this movie and it was about what I thought it would be. Not a bad way to pass the time, but not a profound cinematic achievement either.

charles lane  

Dependable character actor Charles Lane has a small role near the beginning of this movie. I Love Lucy fans will recognize him from several episodes of the show: “Staten Island Ferry” (1956), “The Business Manager” (1954), “Lucy Tells the Truth” (1953), and “Lucy Goes to the Hospital” (1953).

Another actor in this that would later appear in I Love Lucy was Will Wright, who showed up in two episodes: "Tennessee Bound” (1955), and "The Handcuffs” (1952).

Lucy looks gorgeous in this film. Costumes were designed by Jean Louis.


Together with Holden, James Gleason and Frank McHugh make up the trio of bookies.


When this film was made, William Holden had not yet reached the height of his fame, which would be launched by his success the following year in Sunset Blvd. I found his character in this film a bit too cynical to be a sympathetic leading man for this type of light comedy. In fact, I actually thought Ellen’s (Ball’s) boyfriend was a lot nicer than the bookie character played by Holden. He is very handsome, and though comedy may not be Holden’s forte, there are glimmers of the dry wit and unmistakable voice that helped make him a star.

William Holden would later star in a very famous episode of I Love Lucy. Here is a clip from part of that show:

You can also watch Lucy light her nose on fire and throw a pie at Holden.


According to IMDb: “Rita Hayworth was going to star in this movie, but Hayworth requested script revisions, and went on suspension to avoid making it.” I can’t say I really blame her. The material is just not that good.


One of the best parts of the film was near the end when Lucy’s character pretends to be tough-talking gangster. It reminds me of the kind of comedy she would later come to embody as Lucy Ricardo.

Though the film as a whole is rather unremarkable, it is interesting to watch these promising stars at this point in their careers. A solid B picture, it’s not a great movie, but it is worth watching if one is interested in Ball’s career pre-I Love Lucy.

{Here are more photos and some behind-the-scenes pictures from this film.}


i love lucy
This is post is my humble contribution to the Loving Lucy Blogathon, hosted by True Classics.


  1. Her films will keep her forever in the hearts of those of us who grew up with her. I really enjoyed reading your" Miss Grant Takes Richmond" post. Which, is coming on TCM later today. I plan on watching it. Thank you for your wonderful review.

  2. Have fun watching it, Dawn, and thanks for the nice words. :)

  3. Miss Grant Takes Richmond definitely isn't Lucy's finest silver screen moment but I love the great character actors she gets to work with--Charles "Homer Bedloe" Lane was also on The Lucy Show in its first season but reportedly was fired by Ball because he had trouble remembering his lines.

    And that bit where slaps Bill Holden around toward the end of the film -- I like to think Lucy picked that up from working with the Three Stooges in Three Little Pigskins.

  4. I watched bits and pieces of this film today. Though I must say I couldn't' really get into it. It's entertaining, but definitely not one of Lucy's best.

  5. I agree. :) Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Oh, I really wanted to see this film (but there are no subtitles available!). Well, now I read your review I don't feel that bad :) Interesting review, nice to see how some of the actors from this movie later appeared in the series :)

  7. I caught over half of this one on TCM yesterday...loved the scene where she pretends to have a gun and repeatedly slaps William Holden! Hilarious. :)

  8. Yeah, that was probably the best scene of the movie. Reminded me of something Lucy Ricardo would do.

  9. While not one of Lucy's best, the film does contain a warm, witty performance from her - it really gives an indication why people love Lucy!

  10. Enjoyed your post- and loved the pictures! The gangster scene is just too classic. Thanks for contributing to the blogathon. :)
    -Carrie, True Classics

  11. The elements of screwball (the opening scene with the typewriter, the "gangster" ending) really save this movie from being a complete wash. I particularly enjoy Gleason's performance--he always cracks me up! 

    Let me echo Carrie's thanks--we're so glad you contributed a post for the blogathon!

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