Mary, Mary is a diverting little piece of fluff, and scriptwise at least, about as faithful a transference from stage to screen as one could ask for. But therein lies a little bit of a problem, for Mary, Mary was a one-set job. Furthermore, it was a one-set job taking place during a snowstorm, which stranded characters in that one set and gave them no option to leave. You can see the problem -- how to open it up for the screen? It's a challenge, and one which, frankly, director Mervyn LeRoy didn't even try to solve. There are a handful of quick little scenes not set in the apartment, but Mary is about as static a film, setwise, as one can imagine; even in the apartment, we rarely even leave the living room. Some will find this a major liability, but others will be happy to shrug and accept it and revel in the rapid-fire Jean Kerr dialogue, laugh at the witty banter, and enjoy the silly predicament. It helps that Debbie Reynolds is in top form, and that Barry Nelson and Michael Rennie, from the original stage cast, are spot on. Even so, one wishes LeRoy had paid a bit more attention to the pace and had perhaps made a few more cuts -- at over 2 hours, Mary, Mary, as pleasant as it is, does get a little long winded.
by Craig Butler review