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"A Cuckoo in the Nest" - British Situation Comedy
released on November 11, 1933
The Actors: Tom Walls (Major George Bone), Ralph Lynn (Peter Wyckham), Grace Edwin (Mrs. Constance Bone), Yvonne Arnaud (Marguerite Hickett), Mary Brough (Mrs. Spoker, landlord's widow), Robertson Hare (Reverend Sloley Jones), Gordon James (Noony), Veronica Rose (Barbara Wyckham), Mark Daly (Pinhorn), Cecil Parker (Claude Hickett), Roger Livesey (Alfred), Norah Howard (Gladys, inn waitress), Frank Pettingell (landlord), Joan Brierley (Kate the maid)
A Study in Marriage . . . with a Cuckoo
I have a friend who tells me often that his ex-wife drove him to drink . . . for which he is still grateful! This is a British comedy about marriage and fidelity . . . and mothers-in-law and the men they rule over. Major Bone, played by Tom Walls, who also directed the film, is a man with a wife that drove him to drink . . . and he is grateful . . . Maybe I'd better begin at the start . . . Peter Wyckham and his wife Barbara are on the train headed for a weekend in the country, and when Peter gets off the train for a moment to buy a newspaper he runs into an old friend . . . A lady friend . . . who is also going to board the train . . . But no worries, she is married to a Member of Parliament, and he is married to Barbara, waiting for him on the train, and all is well. Suddenly as they are renewing old memories the train leaves them behind. What to do, what to do? Peter decides that he and his old friend the wife of the M.P. will hire a car to drive them to the country so that they can each be reunited with their spouses . . . Nothing could go wrong, right? Well . . . on the way to the country, the hired car breaks down so Barbara's husband and the M.P.'s wife get forced into staying at a small town inn . . . that has only one room available for the couple. Now Peter, stuck in a bedroom for the night with the wife of an M.P. is probably in a big batch of trouble . . . heh . . . there is no 'probably' about it . . . he is in trouble for sure! His mother-in-law, Major Bone's wife, is the poster-woman for mothers-in-law, bringing a chill to the hearts of any man who has the courage to merely look at her. Major Bone, though, loves her dearly . . . as long as he has a good buzz working . . . and fortunately he hasn't a sober moment from the first scene to the last. The comedy comes fast and with great wit as the night passes and by daybreak the in-laws, and the other husband and wife all arrive at the inn to discover the seemingly errant Peter and Marguerite after their night alone in the one bedroom. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
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Make them laugh, make them cry, and back to laughter. What do people want to go to the theatre for? An emotional exercise . . . Mary Pickford
Some of my Favorites:
Probably my all time favorite movie, My Man Godfrey in 1936 not only gives us an comedic peek at the wealthiest and poorest during the Great Depression, but also was the vehicle for Carole Lombard to create the movie icon of the 'dumb blonde screwball comedy' that is a popular theme even today.
Meet John Doe - 1941: The Frank Capra classic set in the Great Depression era that pits the common man against the political masters. You can't be a fan of old movies until you watch Frank Capra's old movies. This one premiered seventy years ago, and it still stirs our emotions and thoughts now. It is as timely as if it were produced today.
Angel and the Bad Man - 1947: One of the great teachers of the Secret Law of Attraction is Dr. Joe Vitale . . . but before he was even born actor John Wayne paid for and produced this Cowboy Western that featured The Law of Attraction.
The Time of Your Life - 1948: James Cagney financed this strangely different feel-good movie, and he plays the part of Joe, a barfly that tries to live his life by making everyone around him better. I watch this one often, and try to become more like Joe every day.
Painted Faces - 1929: Comedy legend Joe E. Brown is a circus clown in a surprisingly serious role as a juror in a Christmas week murder trial who tells the other jurors a story that will change their verdicts in a pre-code drama that could not have been made a few years later.
Charade - 1963: It doesn't get much better than Cary Grant and Audry Hepburn in a tale of death, deception, spies and lost wealth as a woman tries to sort out the good guys from the bad guys in this cold-war spy thriller love story.