Unmistakably scripted by Preston Sturges (stout tycoon falls down stairs; 'I see you're down early today, sir' remarks the imperturbable butler), this irresistible screwball comedy with a dash of Wall Street satire has the penniless Arthur and the pompous Arnold meet cute when his wife's fur coat (thrown out of the window in a marital spat) falls on her head. Subsequently assumed to be the tycoon's mistress and encouraged to live on credit in an extravagance beyond anyone's wildest dreams, she is brought down from her cloud by falling for the poor boy met in an automat diner (Milland), who ironically turns out in best fairytale tradition to be the tycoon's son. Directed by Leisen with his airy elegance, his infallible eye for decor (the outrageous splendours of the hotel suite in which Arthur is installed have to be seen to be believed), and injections of slapstick which must have given Sturges ideas when he came to direct his own movies (in particular the custard-pie food riot in the automat), it is a delight.
A grumpy millionaire (Edward Arnold) throws his wife's coat out the window, and it lands on the shoulders of a humble working girl (Jean Arthur). As her friends accept the symbol over substance, she steps up the social ladder, and eventually into the arms of Arnold's son, Ray Milland. Preston Sturges wrote this Depression-era (1937) twist on the Cinderella story, and it acquires an airy grace from the direction of Mitchell Leisen.
Theatrical Release: July 7th, 1937
DVD Review: Universal - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||Universal Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC|
NOTE: Universal are releasing 4 vintage comedies on April 22nd:
Average Bitrate: 8.54 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital mono)|
|Subtitles||English (SDH), French, None|
Osborne Introduction (1:59)
Although only a few years older than The Major and the Minor - this titles really shows some inferiority in terms of visual presentation with plenty of light scratches and speckles. It is still dual-layered and has a strong bitrate but the noise/dirt ratio is quite high. It is certainly watchable but it might be prudent not to expect any extensive restoration.... as it hasn't taken place that I can see.
The unremarkable audio does the job with a few softened crackles. There are optional English or Spanish subtitles if desired. Extras are sparse - a 2 minute intro by TCM host Robert Osborne and away you go with the film. Another Sturges-written gem with plenty of screwball energy - Jean Arthur is a delight. Despite the limited appearance, you won't be disappointed at this price. Recommended for the very high film value.