Skylark (1941): Sandrich’s Screwball Comedy of Remarriage, Starring Ray Milland and Claudette Colbert

Mark Sandrich, better known for helming some of the best Astaire-Rogers musicals (“Top Hat,” “Gay Divorcee”), directed this screwball comedy, starring Ray Milland and Claudette Colbert.

Colbert exhibits her reliable charm and light comedic touch as Lydia Kenyon the neglected wife of husband Tony (Milland), as they celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary.

The other man in this triangle is lawyer Jim Blake (Brian Aherne), for whom she falls and who’s the cause of divorcing her husband,

Nonetheless, in a week moment of doubt, she realizes what we have known all along—that she is still in love with her husband.

This was the first teaming of Sandrich and Colbert, who would reunite to better effect in the 1943 war melodrama, So Proudly We Hail.

The secondary cast includes such pros as Binne Barnes, Walter Abel, and Grant Mitchell.

A sampler of the subgenre described as “the comedy of remarriage (of which The Philadelphia Story is the sublime model, made a year before this one), Skylark is heavy on dialogue, and thin on humor; it’s actually more of a serio-comedy or dramedy.

 

Oscar Context

The film was nominated for the Best Sound Recording Oscar, Loren L. Ryder, head of Paramount Sound Department, but did not win.