Sunday, September 16, 2012

THE AMAZING ADVENTURE aka The Amazing Quest of Ernest Bliss | 1936

THE AMAZING ADVENTURE isn't actually Screwball, but it's in the family.  Or near the family.  It'd be invited to the reunion, but might need a name tag.

Or maybe it's more like the cousin to a Great Grandfather of Screwball, like an older, slower, stiffer, less-funny version of SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS.  There's no direct lineage, at least not that I can see - it doesn't seem like THE AMAZING ADVENTURE had to happen before SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS could, but the two are very similar and the earlier one likely influenced the later one.  Somehow.

Cary Grant is Ernest Bliss, and he is depressed.  A well-respected doctor tells him that he's suffering from money, and dares him to go one year without living off his family wealth.  Ernest turns the dare into a bet, claiming that if he fails to go one year without using his money, he'll give 50K to the Doc's medical clinic.  And, I dunno, I guess living a hard knock life and meeting some jerky a-holes, as well as some amazingly big-hearted people, leads him to appreciate that life is best lived in moderation.  He learns that Life's sweet-spot lies to the right of the deprivation he experienced during the bet, to the left of the bad moods created by constant self-indulgence, and right next to his sweetie.  Sweetie marks the spot.

Also, he meets a girl.  Shocked?
Meeting her causes him to lose the bet.  Stunned?
Yeah, I know.  Not a lot of surprises here.

He loses the bet because he chooses to marry his impoverished girlfriend.  He wanted her to take him as he seemed to be (poor), and she would have, but her sister had taken ill, and she made the decision to be practical and marry her former (financially stable) boss so she'd be in a position to help her family...  Learning this, Ernest tells her he's rich.

Making use of his money and reputation in this way causes him to lose the bet.  But, the Doc is so impressed, that he refuses to collect on the bet.  Still, the wealthy - and now wise - Ernest gives the medical clinic the money anyway.

And they all live happily ever after.

This isn't a great film, but it's not bad either.  But, now that I've written about it, I can thread it into posts about other films...  Like SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS!

Released: 1936
Director: Alfred Zeisler
Leads: Cary Grant
Writer: John L. Balderston (screenplay), E. Phillips Openheim (novel)
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Plot Summary and reviews of THE AMAZING ADVENTURE @ Rotten Tomatoes