film 1 of 3

Come Live With Me

Draft Review by Dean Duncan Jun 17, 2015

A bare high concept movie, with a highly artificial situation, conventional obstacles, pauses for heavily ideological messages, and the not quite believable but still necessary conclusion, the German (Jewish?) refugee finds kindness (the customs man) in the American city, but it’s not until she gets to the country that she’s introduced to the real and saving virtues of America which of course she accepts with only the slight resistance that the plot demands, likewise the country boy quite loses his way when he comes seeking false grails on the merciless streets, but he gets back on track with some home cooking and the love of the right girl, who encouragingly comes from somewhere else and spices the mix with her own foreign background and experience, the characters’ various below the surface immoralities and dissolutenesses quite disappear when they get home to the remarkably platitude-spouting Grandma, who’s almost obnoxiously wise and kind and wholesome; that aside–and the platitudes aren’t really wrong, for all their insistence–the whole is quite pleasing, the sophisticated middle-agers (he indulging, she indulgent but betrayed beneath the surface) very nicely balance the surfacely jaded but actually pure young folks, there’s expert writing by ? and directing by Mr. Brown, things like the lovely Marlowe poem of the title (saved from archness and unsubtlety when Stewart recites “something-something-something” in the middle of it), the maybe Riskin/Capra derived flashlight which is combined with a touching dialogue about fear and loneliness to become much more than a good script gimmick, it’s true that H-wood was a pretty formulaic place, but it’s the flesh on those skeletons that really counts: this figure is pretty slender, but we thin types can be elegant too; miscellaneously, Stewart acts like Mike in Philadelphia Story, he’s really better as the innocent in these early days or the neurotic of the 50s, with the exception of the sublime hybrid of Wonderful Life, Ian Hunter on the galloping excercise horse at the beginning is accompanied by Rossini’s Tell overture, but the association is with contemporary radio and not with any 19th century tenets