Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Arise, My Love (1940) on TCM on 4/28

Arise, My Love (1940) will be broadcast tonight at 10pm EDT on TCM. Reportedly a favorite film of Claudette Colbert's, the movie mixes romance, comedy, and serious politics (it is set at the end of the Spanish Civil War) and was marketed by Paramount with the odd tagline:
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"Here's the gay, glorious story of a war correspondent and a war ace...a romance that could happen only in 1940!"
Jeez, a comic romance about war? You bet. The title, taken from The Song of Solomon, "Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away" is emblematic of the urge by the film to alert their audience to both the impending danger unfolding in Europe and the continued existence--despite everything--of love to exist, while the whims of nature use us like playthings, despite circumstances, our individual beliefs, and our best interests.

While some people can't enjoy the contrasts and ironies throughout the outlandishly plotted film (which might have been better if it were more sharply edited in the latter scenes), I seem to remember it as being oddly funny. The skilled actors, Ray Milland and Claudette Colbert, who play reporters (with Colbert's character probably based on Martha Gellhorn), help to make the film work. Colbert makes me wonder if there was ever another actress who had such great chemistry with so many different actors?

Possible Mild Spoilers Below * Possible Mild Spoilers Below:

There's the especially deft direction of Mitchell Leisen and a script from Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder with lines such as this:
A priest (Frank Puglia) comments to a prisoner about to be shot: "It's my first execution"
Ray Milland, as the prisoner, a reporter: "Mine, too, Father."

Claudette Colbert's exasperated boss at the newspaper, (Walter Abel): "Gusto Nash, you're fired, as of immediately!"
Augusta Nash (Colbert): "Oh, it's not true!"
Mr. Phillips (Abel): "I know it's not true. I just wanted to taste the words. Sheer rapture!"

Reporter Claudette Colbert, whose arrival at Milland's room to take a photo for an article is misinterpreted by him asks:
"So where shall we do it? How about the chair?"
Milland: "What?"
Colbert: "Right – too conventional."

I don't know how they got that last one past the censors, though maybe they were laughing after seeing this too.


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