All forms of comedy but the subtle are used to spring the laughs that come from the frenetic antics of a middle-aged couple, long separated but bent on trying romance again. It's gag and situation farcing that's as artful as a slap in the face.

All forms of comedy but the subtle are used to spring the laughs that come from the frenetic antics of a middle-aged couple, long separated but bent on trying romance again. It’s gag and situation farcing that’s as artful as a slap in the face.

Jack Conway’s direction [of this film, based on Margery Sharp's novel, The Nutmeg Tree] is fast and vigorous in walloping over the comedy. Laughs are piled on top of each other, making a lot of the dialog unheard and unnecessary.

Garson is punched, doused, muddied and tossed in her unbending process. She wears tights, takes a bubble bath, sings and generally acquits herself like a lady out to prove she can be hoydenish when necessary. The other half of middleaged team, Walter Pidgeon gives away no honors. He’s pitching all the time and skillfully injects just the right amount of underplaying to balance broader delivery of his partner in fun.

The fun starts when Garson, entertainer, receives an invitation to the wedding of her daughter. Not having seen the girl since she was a baby, the mother journeys to France for the wedding.

En route to France, Garson joins an acrobatic act, becomes involved with an elderly wolf, and generally has herself a time. Garson’s song, spotlighted during her acro stint, is ‘When You’re Playing with Fire’ and is delivered with unharmonious vocals, complete with gestures, for laughs.

Julia Misbehaves

Production

M-G-M. Director Jack Conway; Producer Everett Riskin; Screenplay William Ludwig, Harry Ruskin, Arthur Wimperis; Camera Joseph Ruttenberg; Editor John Dunning; Music Adolph Deutsch; Art Director Cedric Gibbons, Daniel B. Cathcart

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1948. Running time: 99 MIN.

With

Greer Garson Walter Pidgeon Peter Lawford Elizabeth Taylor Cesar Romero
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