The filmization of Boy Meets Girl does not approximate the ripsnorting click of the play original by the Spewacks. Whether the fault lies in some of the denaturing, or the idea of a film poking fun at the picture business, doesn’t quite come out, but the fact remains that the picture version of this comedy classic is a little more than adequate but not socko.
Hollywood ribbing itself, in celluloid, sounds like a daring thing and, as the Warners have done it, it is. Director Lloyd Bacon, in fact, has out-Spewacked the dramatists in limning the madcap scenarists, as James Cagney and Pat O’Brien personate them.
Cagney eclipses the somewhat more practical O’Brien in the buffoonery, but that’s a script handicap since the latter is be-plotted by the spectre of a spendthrift wife, and a practical yen to keep earning those 1,500 tears a week, whereas Cagney is devil-may-care, and scriptually quite eager to retire to his Vermont hideaway, live on $12 a week, and write that great book he has in his system.
Marie Wilson, newcomer, rates the most attention in her assignment as Susie, who has been given benefit of clergy (under Haysian mandate) in her role as the mammy of Happy (Paul Clark). The latter is the wonder-child who resurrects a has-been mustang star into big b.o. again.
Ralph Bellamy, sub-featured, is adequately distrait as the studio executive whose cross in life is the fact that he’s the only film producer with a college degree, hence ‘they despise me’. Ronald Reagan, as the radio announcer, makes his brief opportunity register.