(1936)3Bruce EderThis screwball comedy may have been done in the shadow of Frank Capra's It Happened One Night, but that doesn't mean it's lacking in charm -- indeed, with a supporting cast that includes Charles Judels and William Demarest, and even Donald Kerr in a wisecracking bit role, it would be difficult not to enjoy this madcap chase comedy, especially under the knowing directorial hand of W.S. Van Dyke (The Thin Man). Before she became the queen of drama and left us a legacy to be exploited by Frank Perry, Faye Dunaway, etc., Joan Crawford knew how to do comedy and did more than her share -- here she's meek, tempestuous, defiant, and confused by turns, and she and Clark Gable have some chemistry, even if it isn't quite as beguiling as what he shared with Claudette Colbert in Capra's movie. (There's also some unintended irony here, when Crawford's character talks about the pressures of intrusive reporters and demanding board of directors -- one wonders if Dunaway or, at least, Perry, looked at this picture and that scene before doing Mommie Dearest.) But Van Dyke, Gable, Franchot Tone, Crawford and company offer more than odd signposts to modern campiness; it's all pretty zany with a topical edge of sorts, and done with MGM's usual opulence it's a pleasure to look at, although the extant VHS tape was made from a source with scratches at the reel-change points and some other flaws that ought to be rectified (if possible) before the film goes to DVD.