Tuesday, February 28, 2012

WITHOUT LOVE | 1945 | No Love Lost.

Well, they can't all be winners.

This is all rom-com, light on the com, hold the screwball.  It's like an extremely well casted, Kate Hudson sans Cameron Crowe movie.  It starts off strong - Pat Jamieson (Spencer Tracy) is a guy in search of a room for the night, he's stumped and discussing his problem with his cab driver when a drunk sort of commandeers his cab.  Pat sees an opportunity and gets his new cab partner, Quentin Ladd (Keenan Wynn) to invite him to stay the night.  Only the house doesn't belong to Quentin, it belongs to his cousin Jamie Rowan (Katherine Hepburn).  We soon learn Pat is a fancy scientist, that Jamie's Dad had been a fancy scientist, and that both Pat and Jamie could use a marriage of convenience, and then...

There are some lovely moments early in the movie.  Particularly when Pat and Jamie are getting to know one another and he explains he's through with love because of a bad experience, and she tells him she's through with love because of a good experience.  Each story is a bit cliche, but Spencer and Katherine make it work.  If only the backstories these characters share were as crafted as well as the acting!

Similarly, Lucille Ball, Keenan Wynn, and Patricia Morison do the best they can.  It's just painfully obvious that they all exist only to help the leads unite.  Of course, this is technically all this kind of character does in any rom-com, but these minor story-lines should also be engaging, coherent and complement the main struggle somehow.  In WITHOUT LOVE?  Not so much.

Watch it for (some of) the parts, but don't make the mistake of thinking that any of it will add up to anything greater.

Released: 1945
Director: Harold S. Bucquet
Leads: Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Lucille Ball
Writer: Philip Barry (play), Donald Ogden Stewart
Genre: Romantic Comedy (of the worst sort)
Plot Summary and reviews of WITHOUT LOVE @ Rotten Tomatoes