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Thursday, 16 May 2013

Classic Film Review: Never a Dull Moment (1950)

Based on a book that's based on a true story, Never a Dull Moment stars Irene Dunne as Kay, a successful songwriter who falls in love with rancher Chris (Fred MacMurray). She marries him and moves from the bright lights of New York to live with him and his two daughters (played by Gigi Perreau and Natalie Wood). It's a classic fish-out-of-water tale that sees Kay struggle to adjust to life in harsh conditions and finally she is faced with the choice of the New York life she once enjoyed or life with her new family.

This film apparently won an award for being dull but, really, I found it refreshing. It was amusing and the comedy came from realistic incidents. There was little farce for the sake of farce, though it did appear once or twice. Mostly, the humorous situations came from Kay herself - losing control of a horse, battling with a dust-storm, stepping on a loose floorboard - and for that reason they were amusing. The children also added to the film instead of detracting from it and there are some good performances from the supporting cast, especially Ann Doran as Jean and Andy Devine as Orvie.

The problems with this probably stem from the fact that nothing much happens. It's very much Kay's battle to adjust and to some viewers this could indeed be boring. However, I enjoyed the light-heartedness of it and Dunne is really endearing as Kay, striking up a decent rapport with MacMurray. It might be predictable in places but Dunne's warmth shows through - particularly in the scenes with the girls - and makes it much better than the story probably deserves. The little friendship she strikes up with Jean, someone who was once touted as a potential wife for Chris, is pleasant and realistic - no backstabbing or popping poison in the tea, as Kay puts it.

There are certainly things lacking in Never a Dull Moment but it is an enjoyable family film. Although it concluded a little too quickly for my liking, it was overall a good experience.

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