Movie Review: The Footloose Heiress (1937)

Synopsis: On her 18th birthday, defiant Kay Allyn tries to marry her fiancé Jack Pierson, much to the chagrin of her father, J. C., who is president of an advertising firm and knows his daughter is just trying to get married to spite him. With the help of drifter Bruce "Butch" Baeder, the wedding is broken up and J. C. keeps Baeder around to make it difficult for Kay to sneak off to marry Jack by pretending to be Kay's husband. Kay, in turn, tries to outwit both of them by playing along with the charade.

Who's in it? The movie stars Craig Reynolds, Ann Sheridan, William Hopper, Anne Nagel and Hugh O'Connell.

Review: I've had this movie in my library for some time now and started watching it once or twice before turning it off after a few minutes. I finally got around to watching it in its entirety and it turned out to be better than expected.

I will warn you; this movie is definitely dated. Yeah, most movies from this era are, especially when it comes to gender roles. I mean, how many movies do you see today that feature a male character spanking his "wife" in front of all of her friends just to humiliate her and put her in her place? That said, it was still a fun film to watch.

I think the thing I liked best about this film was it was surprisingly hard to read Kay throughout. Some of her responses seemed less sincere and more manipulative than others and that kept her reaction to Baeder (Reynolds) a little more unpredictable than expected, especially when she eventually claims she is in love with him.

Baeder himself is an intriguing character, especially when the movie reveals who he is, but he has difficulty proving it. This too adds some mystique to Kay's interactions with him because it is unclear if she believes him and, if so, if that is her motive for suddenly being attracted to him. 

My biggest complaint about the movie is I wish it would have given her fiancé, Jack (Hopper) a bit more of a personality. The movie shows enough of him to make it easy to understand why her father didn't like the guy but that only made it difficult to understand why Kay was attracted to him (or if she even was). Plus, it would have been beneficial to find out if he actually loved Kay or just her father's money.

Also, for a film that is only about an hour long, there sure is a lot of filler, especially in the beginning with the car chase and toward the end, when they are trying to chase Baeder down when he leaves. It was time that could have been better spent on character development.

Final Opinion: The movie could have spent a little more time on the characters and less time on filler, but it still manages to be a cute and funny film with a clever twist at the end. I'd recommend it on a rainy day.

My Grade: B


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