Friday, May 9, 2014

NO TIME FOR COMEDY (1940)

Well, nobody can accuse Warner Brothers of false advertising.  There isn't a single funny thing in NO TIME FOR COMEDY.  When small town playwright Jimmy Stewart scores his first Broadway play, he heads to NYC to help with the production.  He ends up falling in love with the lead actress, Rosalind Russell.  The honeymoon doesn't last too long though when he starts powerdrinking and spending too much time with a rich socialite.

Right from the very beginning NTFC is a bust.  After Stewart shows up in the Big Apple there's the standard country boy in the big city humor that's not even remotely funny.  At the same time there's some, I guess, romantic sparks between Steward and Russell, but it's so badly written and the characters so poorly constructed that I was taken back when they started talking about getting married.  I didn't even know they liked each other!  The marriage happens and through a quick montage we see that Stewart has become a successful playwright.  The action then settles in on the home life of Stewart and Russell...oh wait never mind, I guess now suddenly Stewart is an alcoholic who's never home.  When he finally manages to stumble home he's in love(?) with a rich patron of the arts who's taken Stewart under her wealthy wing.  Rosalind does the only sensible thing and gets engaged to the socialite's husband!  What the hell?  Then after Stewart's next play is a bust he learns humility and returns to Rosalind.  Yeah, I'm sure that'll last.

Unfortunately, as with the majority of these older studio system production line movies, we'll never know the true story of what was going on behind the camera, but I can only imagine the writing portion of this production was a disaster.  The story was adapted from a play so I don't know if there was something lost between the stage and the screen, but even with two of the finest comedic actors of the time NTFC is a laughless bore.  Honestly I don't even know how this clunker got the greenlight.  Skip it with a vengeance.