“Stand-In” Still Amuses

Stand-In (1937) is one of the funnier comic flicks of the Thirties.  How many of its one-liners were invented by Clarence Budington Kelland, who wrote the novel, and how many came from the movie’s two screenwriter-adapters I don’t know.

What I do know is how smart and penetrating Leslie Howard is in the role of a film company head—and expert in mathematics—who unthinkingly dehumanizes the workers in his financially weakening business.  In truth he’s a decent guy, though, and Joan Blondell is charmingly fine as the woman who knows it and who tries to win his love.  She’s the stand-in actress for an untalented star, Cheri (Marla Shelton), while Cheri is the unknowing romantic stand-in (of sorts) for Blondell—with respect to Howard.

The story should be neater than it is, but it’s agreeable, just like the cast.  Tay Garnett directed tastefully, never insisting on broad comic acting.  This film is better than his Love is News (reviewed earlier) because here both slapstick and one-liners are funny, whereas in the latter film virtually only the slapstick is.  I managed to see Stand-In on YouTube.

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