The Captain Is a Lady (1940)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy, Romantic Drama  |   Run Time - 63 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Those approaching The Captain is a Lady in the expectation of unearthing a rare, unknown comedic gem along the lines of Some Like It Hot will be sorely disappointed to discover that Captain is instead a rather sentimental melodrama with comedic overtones. It's also not a particularly good film, although it's certainly mildly diverting and is easy enough to take, provided one isn't looking for great depth and doesn't mind having one's emotions manipulated a bit. Certainly it's effective at making one feel concerned about the plight of the poor elderly couple at the center of its story, and while it's not a raucous, knockabout farce, it does have its amusing moments. It also tends to get a little bit dull, unfortunately, thanks both to the tendency of Harry Clark's adapted screenplay to linger over not-always-fresh situations and of director Robert Sinclair to not pace things as bracingly as one might wish. However, Captain does have a saving grace, and that is its sterling cast of marvelous character actors. Wonderful, cranky yet lovable Charles Coburn is in fine form as the title character, and Beulah Bondi scores a rare starring part and proves that she was capable of more than was often asked of her. Hlen Broderick, Billie burke and the rest of the "old ladies" are a delight, and it's fun also to see a young Dan Dailey and the beautiful Virginia Grey.