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Good Romantic Comedy; Terrible DVD
This is far from Jean Arthur's classic comedies of the late 1930s and the early 40s, but she's as charming as ever. John Wayne is also surprisingly good as the romantic leading man, but the film is a showcase for Jean Arthur's talents from beginning to end (it was produced by her husband).
The DVD, however, is terrible. Its watchable, but you feel like you're watching the film on 1980s VHS, late night TV or one of those cheap public domain DVDs. The image is very soft, there are visible scratches and the sound is very bad. Still, I doubt that Criterion will ever pick a film like this one, so if you like 1940s romantic comedies, and Jean Arthur in particular, you should "take a chance" on this one.
John Wayne and Jear Arthur sizzle onscreen
An unusual wartime comedy-romance, starring the ever-delectable Jean Arthur as a big-city girl who takes a bus tour out West to see some of the world, and gets a real eyeful when she hooks up with John Wayne, a lanky, laconic cowboy who's rambling around on the rodeo circuit. The script is fairly minimal, and many scenes even seem improvised, but what's remarkable is the underlying sexual frankness of the film -- the two meet by accident, and are inexorably drawn together by sheer sexual chemistry. When they finally give in and go out on a real date, they have nothing to say to each other -- the attraction is purely physical. Certain scenes, such as when he invites her up to his hotel room, offers her a drink, and bed to bunk in, are surprisingly raw, at least for the time. Arthur and Wayne also seem to have chemistry together -- in fact, this is the only film in which I've seen him play opposite a gal when the sizzle seemed real... It's a funny film with an offbeat sense of humor, one that's worth seeing particularly if your a fan of Jean Arthur's work... She's about as cute as ever in this one!
Classic Boy-Meets Girl With a Twist.
A LADY TAKES A CHANCE stars Jean Arthur as Molly Truesdale, a young and hip Eastern American woman tired of all her suitors. To escape from them for a spell, she takes a bus-tour west to see America. While out west she literally bumps into Duke Hudkins (John Wayne) at a rodeo. They end up spending the rest of the day together and most of the evening and Molly ends up missing her bus. Duke takes her to the city where she can catch it for the ride home.
Though this is a pretty typical boy-meets-girl movie, there are a lot of elequant touches that make it stand out above the rest. Besides, it's enjoyable watching the Duke play a role so different from the ones he was to become famous for. Jean Arthur is just adorable and makes a grand lady that is at first pursued, but then becomes the pursuer. As a bonus, Phil Silvers has a small role as the bus tour guide. Not only will Wayne fans and oldies fans like this movie, but it makes for a great date picture.