Movie Diary 7/25/2017

Adventure in Manhattan (Edward Ludwig, 1936). This goddamn bizarre movie is about a cocky crime reporter (Joel McCrea) who makes a bunch of predictions about upcoming criminal acts. How? I do not know. Jean Arthur butts heads with him, Reginald Owen is an elegant producer, Thomas Mitchell a blustery newspaper editor. There’s one gag about a dead child in a small coffin. The wisecracking lead role isn’t quite a good fit for the great McCrea, and everybody plays it like they’re trying to sell us on how screwball it all is. Jean Arthur can do no wrong, obviously. There’s also a scene where three people sit around and eat baked beans.

More Than a Secretary (Alfred E. Green, 1936). Another weirdie. Jean Arthur runs a secretarial school but takes a job temping for George Brent, who runs a physical-fitness magazine, because it’s one way to get a shot at marriage. Lionel Stander is Brent’s assistant, Dorothea Kent is a competing secretary with limited office skills but plenty of moxie, Ruth Donnelly is Arthur’s colleague. Green keeps it moving along, which makes it a good deal pleasanter than Adventure in Manhattan.

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