Rupert Pupkin Speaks: WAC'd Out Sets: Three FAST films... ""

Monday, May 6, 2013

WAC'd Out Sets: Three FAST films...

Adventures in the rare book trade. Joel and Garda Sloane deal in rare books and in this case tracking them down when they go missing and getting embroiled in a murder mystery whilst doing so. Melvyn Douglas(Joel Sloane) has always been sorta William Powell-y in certain roles for me and this is no exception. This film feels very much like a THIN MAN clone, even though it's an adaptation. And Florence Rice(Garda Sloane), who I am less familiar with is ridiculously adorable. She reminds me a bit of Ginger Rogers. Claire Dodd, also present here is quite stunning as well. I've heard her name come up on the Warner Archive Podcast before and now I can see why. 

This film opens with a shot of a note on a door, "Milkman: please leave one quart of aspirin tablets." followed by a shot of a ringing phone, also with a note on it, "Dear telephone - one peep out of you and we will cancel all agreements." This sets the tone pretty well. This time out, Robert Montgomery and Rosalind Russell play the Sloanes and they do quite well with it as one might expect. There's a certain continuity from FAST COMPANY to this film in that things that occurred(investigations & injuries) are referred back to in the first few minutes of the movie. That's kinda neat even if different actors are now playing the roles. The Sloane's first client is a little absent-minded man who wants to broker a deal with a rich book collector who is apparently in some kind of mysterious financial trouble and may be willing to part with a rare and valuable Shakespeare manuscript he has in his possession. The couple travels to the rich man's home with their client to set up the sale, and we are introduced to a bevy of suspicious characters there. It becomes clear quite quickly that someone really doesn't want that manuscript sold and from there on this is a fun little "mansion mystery". My favorite film of the set.

Ann Sothern and Franchot Tone inherit the Sloane mantle in this entry. It's a scorcher in the city and Garda tricks Joel into taking them on a Seaside City getaway. Once there, Joel finds he's been roped into judging a bathing beauty contest because via a friend of his he's loaned some money to. Thankfully Ann Sothern brought her suit too(and she looks lovely in it)! Sadly she's not in her suit all that much as there money swindling and a murder to be investigated. Weakest of the three films, but Sothern makes it watchable. Interestingly, this was directed by Busby Berkeley, but it shows none of his signature stylistics unfortunately(I kept hoping for some choreographed pageant interludes).

This set is available as an MOD DVD from Warner Archive: HERE

1 comment:

Robert M. Lindsey said...

These look cool, I was unaware of them.