Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Rendezvous with Annie

The film was not released in Finland. Tutta la città ne sparla. US © 1946 Republic Pictures. D: Allan Dwan. SC: Mary Loos, Richard Sale. DP: Reggie Lanning. ED: Arthur Roberts. AD: Hilyard Brown. M: Joseph Dubin. C: Eddie Albert (Jeffrey Dolan), Faye Marlowe (Annie Dolan), Gail Patrick (Dolores Starr), Philip Reed (tenente Avery), C. Aubrey Smith (Sir Archibald Clyde), Raymond Walburn (Everett Thorndyke), William Frawley (generale Trent), James Millican (capitano Spence), Wallace Ford (Al Morgan), Will Wright (Elmer Snodgrass), Lucien Littlefield (Ed Kramer), Edwin Rand (Phil Denim), Mary Field (Deborah). P: Allan Dwan per Republic Pictures. Premiere: 22 luglio 1946. 35 mm. 80'. B&w.  Da: UCLA Film and Television Archive e Paramount Pictures per concessione di Park Circus Films. Cinema Jolly (Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna), e-subtitles in Italian, 3 July 2013

Preserved by UCLA Film and Television Archive in conjunction with Paramount Pictures from a 35 mm nitrate composite fine grain master positive
Laboratory services by The Stanford Theatre Film Laboratory, Audio Mechanics, DJ Audio. Preservation funded by The Packard Humanities Institute

Dave Kehr: "After the manic pace of the Edward Small comedies, Dwan shifted into a more lyrical, reflective, even somewhat fantastic mode for the work he did at Republic Pictures from 1946 to 1953. Rendezvous with Annie was the first of Dwan's films under his Republic contract, and the first of four films he made with the husband and wife screenwriting team of Richard Sale (who would later become a director) and Mary Loos (the niece of Dwan's collaborator from the Fairbanks days, Anita Loos). Set in the immediate aftermath of the war, the film relates in flashback the story of an Air Force office clerk (Eddie Albert) based in London, who goes AWOL when he impulsively hitches a ride back to the States with a pair of pilot buddies (Phillip Reed and James Millican) in order to spend a night with his young bride (Faye Marlowe). When he officially returns home after his discharge, he finds that he's the father of a little baby - and because no one in his home town knew of his secret return, the subject of much local gossip. Here, Dwan transforms the theme of doubtful or challenged parentage that runs through so much of his work not as melodrama (Wicked, One Mile from Heaven) but as a kind of romantic affirmation, with a touch of Christian mysticism about it that might have been borrowed from Frank Borzage (also at Republic that year, to make I've Always Loved You). The agents of Albert's salvation are a pair of unlikely figures - a glamorous nightclub singer (the underappreciated Gail Patrick, again) and a distinguished British gentleman Albert knows only as "the old duffer" (C. Aubrey Smith) - who descend from their exalted positions to intervene in Albert's life." Dave Kehr

A gentle comedy, which I prefer to the frenetic Up in Mabel's Room. Jeffrey Dolan, a soldier, comes home from London after 1½ years away at the service, and there is a surprise for him: his wife has just given birth to a baby boy. Jeffrey is overjoyed and makes a round in the small town handing out cigars, but everybody else is reserved or aghast - they do not know that nine months ago Jeffrey had been AWOL one weekend in his hometown. Now there is a big heritage issue for which Jeffrey needs to prove he is the father, and everybody refuses to verify the AWOL story, although there are many witnesses. I like the tender, genial touch in this comedy.

The print is really beautiful.

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