Having Wonderful Time (1938)

Genres - Comedy, Romance  |   Release Date - Jul 1, 1938 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 70 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Having Wonderful Time is far from a wonderful movie, but its cast makes it moderately entertaining. Arthur Kober's play has not made the transition from stage to screen with the greatest of ease; while much of the dialogue and many of the situations remain essentially unchanged, the flavor has gone out of the piece. The play is all about the world of the Catskills in the 1930s, with a sharpness and vitality that is unique to the time and the place. The movie is indistinct and flavorless (despite the use of a few "regional" accents), as well as somewhat sanitized. This makes a significant difference, for the play itself is nothing more than a little bauble, and its specificity is what made it work onstage. Fortunately, Time has a fine cast. They are not necessarily shown off to their best advantage, but they handle themselves well. Ginger Rogers has all the self-assurance necessary for Teddy, as well as just the right hint of vulnerability, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. does quite well as the man who comes to realize he wants more than just a few nights with her. Eve Arden and Lucille Ball are given far too little to do, but add a little zest to the proceedings whenever they're around, and Lee Bowman and Jack Carson do what is required of them and a little more. In his debut, Red Skelton steals a number of scenes. Fans of the cast should have a decent, if not a wonderful, time.