THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY-SOXER
One of the reasons I tend to dislike modern romantic comedies is that they lack the innocent humor of past screen gems. The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer is a perfect example. This story could never be retold in a way that wouldn’t seem suggestive. A teenage girl develops a crush on a playboy bachelor, and the girl’s family determines that the crush must play itself out by having the bachelor take her on a few dates. Such a ridiculous premise shouldn’t work, and in today’s culture it would simply be reviled. But in 1947 it was a plausible storyline for a sweet and, yes, innocent comedic tale.
Bachelor stars Cary Grant, Shirley Temple and Myrna Loy as Temple’s older sister. My great affection for Cary Grant led me to this film, and it is his performance that makes the movie so very charming. It’s not his best work, nor is it one of his better films, but it is a sweet and honest little movie with touching moments, great instances of screwball behavior (at which Grant was so adept), and a fantastic scene of an over-the-top argument between the two sisters. I enjoyed every moment of Bachelor and found myself wishing there were movies of this sort still being made today. I wish there were actors like Cary Grant, who could play any kind of role without ego, willing to become a fool in order to make the scene better. His tongue-in-cheek comedy brought life to everything he did, and I can’t think of one actor today who has that same attitude. And as long as that is true, and I cannot find these type films, my heart will continue to revere the romantic comedies of the 40s, where strong women were featured in soft focus and men could be silly and sexy and vulnerable without losing their masculinity. That truly was the Golden Age of Cinema.
image from The Ultimate Cary Grant Pages