Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Radio review – CP#45 – “Theodora Goes Wild” (1940) **

Years before Loretta Young and Orson Welles teamed on The Stranger they played together in this radio version of the 1936 screwball comedy. Young stars as the quiet small town girl who has secretly written a racy best-seller and Welles is the cover artist who falls for her. He tries to bring her into honesty but then when he starts getting somewhere she backs off – it turns out he’s secretly married and can’t get divorced because the fear would upset his politician dad. Which means they’re not really using the premise, and it also doesn’t make sense – would Welles’ character go to all this trouble when he himself is hiding such a big secret. It is interesting to hear an old style Hollywood film about sexual hypocrisy and with a male hero who gets divorced. Welles wasn’t always comfortable in screwball comedy and that proves to be the case here; he’s outshone by Young comfortably (the role has resonance with her, the good Catholic girl who raised Clark Gable’s love child).

NB at the end Welles refers to this being Young’s fifth appearance on the show, the first back in 1934 – well before Welles became involved in Campbell’s Playhouse.

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