Friday, December 23, 2016


Via Turner Classic Movies I checked out this little comedy the other night and was glad I did so. It caught me attention because it stars one of my favorite actresses from 1930's Hollywood, Miss Glenda Farrell. I've been a huge fan of hers since discovering the great Torchy Blane film series sixteen years ago and so I try to see her work any time I can. She always adds a touch of spice to whatever she's in and it helps that she plays smart, sarcastic and independent very well. The twinkle in her eye is always a knowing one.

SNOWED UNDER is a pretty light and slight piece of silliness that plays like a classic three act sex farce with the sex carefully excised to appease the Hays Code office. Interestingly, with a couple of divorced ladies roaming around the story (of which Miss Farrell is one) the film slides a few innuendos and even a double entendre or two by, but overall it has been carefully sanitized for your protection. Mostly, anyway. There's no hiding the fact that Glenda isn't wearing a bra in a few scenes as her blouse opens provocatively down to her navel! Whew.

While this film isn't great it is fun. It takes place mostly in the single location of a snowed in country house packed with a playwright, his first two wives, a swooning teenager, a lawyer, a deputy sheriff and a host of complications. It's light, fluffy fun that never feels insulting and it breezes along a brisk pace. Everyone seems to know what they kind of film they are making and all the actors hit the right notes as the conflicts pile up along with the snow. My only complaints with the movie are that often the dialog could have been a bit sharper and it feels like some interesting character moments might have been sacrificed in the editing to move the story forward quicker.

Oh! But the biggest surprise of the film for me was another actress. Genevieve Tobin plays one of the divorced wives and she is the real star as far as I'm concerned. She is fantastic as a sweet natured lady willing to help out her troubled ex-husband even if she still stings from their breakup. Tobin plays the most complicated character in the story and is excellent at every emotional turn of events. She is convincing as both sympathetic older, wiser woman and angry (almost violent) spurned lover. She is a delight in this film and I have made a note of her handful of film roles so I can seek them out in the future. I'm sad that she got married and retired in 1940 never to return to the screen again but I'll be on the lookout for her thirty-eight or so films to catch this talented lady again. She is a delight!

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