They All Kissed the Bride (1942)

“Maggie, don’t you ever have any clothes on?”

The screwball comedy They All Kissed the Bride stars the magnificent Joan Crawford as tough-as-nails businesswoman M.J Drew. Checking any hint that she’s female or human at the door, the indomitable M.J (Margaret J.) inherits the business from her father, and she runs it with an iron fist, leaving the Board of Directors and management trembling in her wake. Part of the Drew Empire is a trucking business, and M.J hires “spotters” to sneakily report whether or not the truck drivers respect the company regulations. The spotters look for infractions such as picking up hitchhikers and helping disabled motorists, and any trucker guilty of an infraction is subject to fines, suspension and dismissal.

M.J’s network of spotters is emblematic of how she runs her business empire–mercilessly, autocratically and with utmost attention paid to rules and regulations. She applies this didactic business acumen to her personal life too, and she treats her dingy mother (Billie Burke) and mushy younger sister Vivian (Helen Parrish) with inflexible unsentimentally.

MJ’s ordered world comes crashing down, however, when free-spirited journalist Michael Holmes (Melvyn Douglas) begins writing a series of exposes detailing M.J.’s authoritarian approach to business. M.J. immediately orders her spotters to be on the lookout for Holmes, “the ferret with the poisonous pen,” and gives orders to bring Holmes to her office when and if he’s found.

In one of the best scenes in the film, Holmes crashes Vivian’s society wedding, and makes a complete nuisance of himself. There’s mistaken identity, confused motives, and even Joan Crawford jitterbugging in this entertaining, light-hearted comedy. Holmes seems to run rings around M.J’s inflexible need for rules and regulations, and he appears to take great pleasure in flummoxing her by thwarting her orders, ignoring her dictates and casting aspersions on her femininity. With snappy dialog and even pacing, the entertaining film doesn’t miss a beat. From director Alexander Hall.

Carole Lombard was originally intended for the role, but after her death, Crawford took the part.

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Filed under Comedy, Joan Crawford

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