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||IMDB Rating: 6.7/10 from N/A votes
||Release: 12 Oct 1938 /
||Director: Rowland V. Lee,
||Synopsis: Glamorous and efficient Helen Murphy runs a service that will provide any type of assistance to wealthy customers, but what she's really looking for is a man who can take care of himself. ...
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Since Thriller seems to be played every five minutes on the radio
following the death of Michael Jackson, I've found myself lecturing the
kids about the wonderful, 55-year career of the legendary Vincent
Well here's where that wonderful career began - the male lead in his
debut feature! His role here couldn't be any further removed from the
genre he's famous for. This romantic screwball comedy sees Price play
the heart-throb hero(?!) opposite comedy actress Constance Bennett
(who, incidentally, my mother was named after).
Helen Murphy (Bennett) runs the titular service which caters for the
every need of its customers, from meals to shopping, finances to social
arrangements. Constance is sick of running around after men (her main
customers) and seeks an independent, self-sufficient partner.
She meets one in the form of Robert Wade (Price) who, after a case of
mistaken identity (have you ever seen a 30s comedy in which this didn't
happen?), treats her like a real woman. Unfortunately, Murphy's
business-like lifestyle clashes with Wade's vision of the ideal woman -
a homely child-bearer who lets the man pay for everything.
So Murphy lies and hides the truth of her real occupation - with
hilarious consequences. Naturally Wade hates Murphy's service
(remember, he doesn't know she's behind it!) which he finds unnecessary
intrusive. This of course causes Murphy to perpetuate the deceit.
There's plenty of madcap behaviour as Wade's now antiquated views of
women force Murphy to use underhanded tactics to win his heart. Bennett
is great as always and Price is also very good, although no Cary Grant.
There's also a supporting cast of zany characters including Mischa Auer
(mad Russian chef who constantly consults his spirit guide), Charles
Ruggles (eccentric old businessman) and Helen Broderick (dumb romantic
The comedy is often predictable as Wade sets about selling his new
innovative tractor idea and gets himself accidentally engaged to the
wrong person. However, it's all very likable and sweet and makes for a
perfect afternoon matinée.
Considering Price makes his feature film debut here, it is amazing to
see how comfortable he is and how consistent his look and persona are
with later roles. The ever-present 'tache is obviously on show, as is
that slight southern twang and dignified manner. To be fair, the
27-year old Price looks exactly here as he does in 'The House on
Haunted Hill' 20 years later! And there's an interesting scene in
which Price jokingly talks about madness in his family, as he slowly
and menacingly advances towards his finance an eerie forecast of
things to come
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