A film I’ve always wanted to see,simply because of the leads – who would ever expect to see George Brent,George Raft and Randolph Scott in the same movie.
CHRISTMAS EVE was entertaining,with a few reservations. The three stars only share a couple of scenes.
Ann Harding plays a rich old lady who had taken in and raised three orphan boys who,although close to her, have gone out into the world ( to use her words)to make their own way in life.
She seemingly hasn’t seen them for years but knows they’ll come back if she needs them – and she does.
Her scheming nephew wants to take over her fortune and enlists the aid of judge Clarence Kolb.
Brent is a playboy about to marry an heiress for her money, though he really loves Joan Blondell.
George Raft runs a gambling house in South America and gets mixed up in a Nazi plot involving his girlfriend,Virginia Field.
And Randolph Scott is a footloose rodeo rider who gets caught up in a baby selling scandal run by Douglass Dumbrille. He finds love with the lady trying to break the Dumbrille case, Dolores Moran.
The problem with the script is the mix of comedy and drama. The Brent and Scott episodes are pure comedy, while the Raft story is straight drama.
In fact, each story was strong enough to be a full length feature.
It was nice to see Brent and Blondell back together, and Scott did well in his last non – western role. Raft was Raft, and that’s fine with me!
I did wonder why Ann Harding, in her 40s, was cast as the old lady. So many great character actresses of the right age could have been more convincing – though Ann is a very good actress .
The reference to Christmas Eve of the title is that Ann tells the judge her three sons will turn up on Xmas Eve – and they do.
This film is on You Tube just now, in a reasonable quality print.
Olive Films are releasing CHRISTMAS EVE on both DVD and blu-Ray on January 19, 2016.