Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947): Cary Grant as Cocky Playboy, Myrna Loy, and Shirley Temple

In this farcical comedy, indifferently directed by Irvin Reis, based on Sidney Sheldon’s original screenplay, Myrna Loy plays Margaret, a judge who meets cocky playboy and practical artist Dick (Cary Grant) as an arrestee following a café episode.  Though disapproving of his misconduct, she only scolds him before acquitting him for lack of sufficient evidence.

Our grade: C+ (** out of ***** stars)

Lecturing to an art class at the local high school, Dick meets Susan (Shirley Temple), Margaret’s impressionable young sister who idolizes him as a knight.  Crashing into his apartment, she is later caught there by Margaret and her stiff friend Tommy (Rudy Vallee), an assistant district attorney.

Dick is guilty of several items, including punching Tommy, but the Judge, advised by her uncle psychiatrist, decided to give me a more original punishment, ordering him to take care of the young Susan by pretending to be her boyfriend so that she can recover from her adolescent infatuation. As a couple, Dick and Susan attend a basketball game, a picnic, and the older Dick trying to pretend in his speech and mannerisms that he’s of a different generation.

Rest of the farce is sillier and rather predictable, ending with Susan seeing Dick in the proper light and older sister Margaret predictably realizing her love for him.

Grant is in antic mode and intermittently entertaining, but Loy’s famous breezy charm is wasted.

Main problem is Shirley Temple, then at a dangerous age for a child-actress.  On the verge of growing up, she is no longer cute or convincing as precautious or precious.  Failing to make the transition to adult roles, in a few years, her acting career would be over.

“The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer” was Dore Schary’s last production before assuming the post of RKO head.  Schary later became head of MGM.

 

Oscar Nominations: 1

Screenplay (Original): Sidney Sheldon

Oscar Award: 1

Screenplay

Oscar Context

One of the weakest choices in the Academy’s history, considering that in the same year the following films were nominated for their original scenarios: “Body and Soul, Cukor’s “A Double Life,” Chaplin’s “Monsieur Verdoux,” and Vittorio De Sica’s “Shoeshine.”

Sheldon enjoyed a more interesting and commercial career in the 1970s, as the novelist of some potboilers, “Bloodline” and “The Other Side of Midnight,” which were made into rather commercial movies.

 

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