There's a nifty little romance-cum-farce hiding in Heartbeat, but it unfortunately only manages to peak its little head out every so often. This coyness is most unfortunate, and one only wishes that director Sam Wood and the various writers credited with the screenplay had been able to coax the film's better qualities out into the open more often. It's not all their fault, of course. One of the major impediments the film faces is in its central casting. Leading actress Ginger Rogers looks like quite a lovely woman in Heartbeat, but she most definitely does look a woman, not the almost-out-of-her-teens youth that the part calls for. Rogers overcompensates for the age discrepancy by flouncing about, and the effect is not credible. Although a very fine actress and often an expert comedienne, Rogers doesn't appear comfortable in the part, her age aside. For his part, Wood works with a much-too-obvious touch; a feathery Ernst Lubitsch touch is needed here, and Wood's lacks the delicacy and precision required. And while the screenwriters have supplied many amusing moments and touches, the film loses its footing in the second half, changing from a fairly original little comedy to a much-too-predictable romance. However, Jean-Pierre Aumont provides welcome charm and dash as the eventual man in Rogers' life, and Basil Rathbone is a sheer delight as the pickpocket teacher.
by Craig Butler review