Looking Forward: The Captain is a Lady (1940)

26 Apr
The Captain is a Lady (1940)

Does he have a Bob Keeshan thing going on there, or is it me?

What really catches my eye when I browse TCM listings is a character actor with top billing. I share the worlds love for the Lombards and Loys and Coopers and Fondas. But there a joy to me in watching, say, The Mask of Dimitrios with Lorre and Greenstreet running the show on their own that’s entirely different from the joy of Casablanca.

The danger, of course, is what I think of as the Barney Fife Factor. You love Barney Fife. You look forward to a good Barney-centric episode. You applaud when he enters. But do you want a whole Barney series? History tells us this is hit-and-miss. Can you imagine an all-Kramer half-hour? And the less spoken of Enos, the better…

But Edward Everett Horton could carry a movie. Yes, he’s better when he springs in, delights, and flees; but if pressed, he can carry the weight. And frankly, what was Orson Welles if not a character actor who knew how to run a show? And get upset about frozen pea text.

So when I saw the listing for The Captain is a Lady, starring Charles Coburn and Beulah Bondi, I was understandably excited. The ideal Daddy Warbucks and the ideal Frances Perkins from the Annie-that-time-precluded, except in a movie I’d probably enjoy significantly more than Annie?  Sign me up!

I’ll meet you back here sometime in the days following May 3 at 11 a.m.


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