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Dulcy

Dulcy(1940)

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teaser Dulcy (1940)

"She's delightful, unrepressed, luscious, captivating, yielding - Dulcy! She sees all...knows all...tells nothing - about men!" heralded the trailer for Dulcy (1940), a frothy little comedy starring Ann Sothern as a dizzy dame who tries to help her aviator fianc (Ian Hunter) by throwing a party so he can meet and sell his invention to a millionaire. Also in the cast were Roland Young and Billie Burke, who had appeared together in Topper (1937), Reginald Gardiner, a young Dan Dailey (billed as "Dan Dailey, Jr."), Hans Conried, and Guinn "Big Boy" Williams as the unlikely ex-con turned butler.

The film was adapted by Albert Mannheimer, Jerome Chodorov, and Joseph Fields from the 1922 George S. Kaufman-Marc Connelly play of the same name, which was based on a character created by Kaufman and Connelly's fellow Algonquin Round Table denizen, columnist Franklin P. Adams. The role was originated on stage by Lynn Fontanne, with the first film version in 1923 starring Constance Talmadge, and a remake with Marion Davies Not So Dumb in 1929.

Under director Sylvan Simon, production only lasted from June to July 1940 on the MGM lot and on location in the mountain resorts of Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead, California, two hours from Los Angeles. There, Edi Jaun, the manager of the marina, rented an expensive Chris-Crafts boat to the producers. The stuntman hired to double Ann Sothern couldn't handle the boat properly and kept running into things. Jaun was afraid they would ruin the boat, and demanded that his nephew, Wilmer, take over. He was fitted with a blonde wig and did the scene without mishap. One of the onlookers was actress June Lockhart, who was living with her parents at Arrowhead.

Ann Sothern had made a career playing daffy dames, including the Maisie B-film series, which she would continue on radio and film throughout the 1940s. When the film was released in October 1940, New York Times film reviewer Bosley Crowther felt that she must have been getting bored playing the same character. "But apparently Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer isn't weary of having her do it, for here she is, cast again in another of those screw-loose comedies constructed along the lines of a rotating squirrel-cage. [...]Such crack-brained low comedy is only amusing when done with nimble zest. And this isn't. [...] Dulcy first showed back in 1921; she has not improved with the years and frequent imitation. In short--and to put it bluntly--the bloom is off the rose."

By Lorraine LoBianco

SOURCES:

Cozad, W. Lee More Magnificent Mountain Movies
Crowther, Bosley "THE SCREEN; Ann Sothern Plays a Daffy 'Dulcy' at Loew's Criterion" The New York Times 28 Nov 40
Erickson, Hal "Dulcy" Rovi
The Internet Movie Database
http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/994/Dulcy/
Trailer Dulcy

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