Review: ‘Merrily We Live’

It's all in the acting and directing. Director Norman Z. McLeod has the knack of building up gags until he has three or four racing each other to the big laugh. Most of the fun comes from a fine performance by Billie Burke, who plays a scatterbrain wife and mother in a family of irresponsibles.

It’s all in the acting and directing. Director Norman Z. McLeod has the knack of building up gags until he has three or four racing each other to the big laugh. Most of the fun comes from a fine performance by Billie Burke, who plays a scatterbrain wife and mother in a family of irresponsibles.

Burke has a weakness for helping worthless humanity. Brian Aherne is welcomed to the fold. It happens he isn’t a tramp at all, but a writer who forgot to shave on the morning his flivver broke down when he stops by to use the telephone. Once inside, he decides to stay.

In his calm and self-possessed manner he begins to bring some order out of the confusion in which the Kilbourne family lives. This leads to a romance with the elder daughter (Constance Bennett), and a timely word which clinches an important business deal for the head of the house.

Bennett gives a good performance and appears in some striking costumes. Alan Mowbray, as the family butler, contributes to the hilarity, as do Patsy Kelly, in a small part, and Bonita Granville and Tom Brown.

1938: Nominations: Best Supp. Actress (Billie Burke), Cinematography, Art Direction, Sound, Song (‘Merrily We Live’)

Merrily We Live

Production

Favorite/M-G-M. Director Norman Z. McLeod; Producer Milton H. Bren; Screenplay Eddie Moran, Jack Jevne; Camera Norbert Brodine; Editor William Terhune; Music Marvin Hatley (dir.); Art Director Charles D. Hall

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1938. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Constance Bennett Brian Aherne Billie Burke Alan Mowbray Patsy Kelly Ann Dvorak
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