On Our Merry Way is a middling anthology film, a genre in which the completed film rarely works out overall but often contains some worthy highlights. In Merry, the joys come more from the actors than from the material, which is surprisingly dull. However, watching James Stewart and Henry Fonda engaging in a rare team effort -- a slapsticky comedic one at that -- is a treat, especially since their story is slightly better written than the others. Fred MacMurray and William Demarest have to slog through an uninspired "Ramsom of Red Chief" rip-off, but they display great chemistry, and watching them working together a decade before My Three Sons is a lot of fun. Dorothy Lamour's segment is also slow going, but it does feature a production number that's very amusing and that allows Lamour a chance to shine. Burgess Meredith and Paulette Goddard are stuck with a nonsensical framing story, but their screen personas help to smooth over the many rough patches. Although credited to Leslie Fenton, numerous hands are rumored to have been involved in the direction, including George Stevens, King Vidor, and John Huston. This too-many-cooks approach shows through in the unevenness of the film, which lacks unity and consistency. Catch On Our Merry Way for its cast, and it will be easier to ignore its lesser parts.
by Craig Butler review