Dear Ruth (1947)

Genres - Comedy, Romance  |   Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

There is absolutely no reason why any modern viewer should greet Dear Ruth with any reaction other than boredom -- and yet most viewers will find themselves laughing and happily engaged, in spite of their better judgment. This reaction is certainly not due to the freshness of the concept; the mistaken identity aspect is as old as the hills, the letter writing component ditto, and even the use of an armed services man as the hero is not exactly brand spanking new. In most circumstances, these ingredients would add up to a feeling that one is watching a sitcom plot that has been uncomfortably padded out to feature length. Yet Norman Krasna and Arthur Sheekman's screenplay is peppy and spritely enough, so professionally put together, and so filled with genuinely funny lines and gags that one is more than willing to meet it halfway. William D. Russell's direction, while not ingenious, is focused and direct, and knows exactly what to do to point up the laughs, while keeping the developing romantic plot line sufficiently interesting. It doesn't hurt that Ruth has an excellent comedy turn from William Holden, very solid work from Joan Caulfield and Mona Freeman, a typical but particularly effective prissy performance from Billy DeWolfe and a real stand-out job from Edward Arnold. Ruth's plot is too familiar and slight for the film to be a top drawer classic, but it's a thoroughly winning and entertaining little piece of fluff.