Friday, January 3, 2014

Nick and Nora in Everything but Name

1936. 82 minutes.
Available on DVD.
If this screwball comedy-mystery reminds you of The Thin Man series, that's probably no coincidence:
As things get underway Bradford is drawn into the investigation of the murder of a jockey, while also dealing with the ramifications of the sudden and unexpected return of his ex-wife. A few more murders break out along the way, Bradford gets roughed up on more than one occasion, and the couple end up coming to a truce and reuniting. — William I. Lengeman III, TRADITIONAL MYSTERIES (December 21, 2011)
Beyond its two leads, The Ex-Mrs. Bradford shares similarities with other popular films of the period. It's got the screwball estranged husband and wife who clearly belong together after all; the married couple at the center of a tale combining the dark, often gruesome elements of a crime story with the breezy romantic comedy typical of the time; the madcap society girl who won't mind her own business, nearly bringing ruin on the object of her affections; and the wise-cracking butler. Even as early as 1936, critics were saying The Ex-Mrs. Bradford was covering "fearfully familiar ground," and yet most were delighted to report that the work of everyone involved made it all seem fresh and novel. — Rob Nixon, TCM
A little dialogue:

"I didn't know you went in for opening safes, Doc."
"Oh, we surgeons open anything."
"I like things the way they are now. I can pick up my paper in the morning, read about a murder, and enjoy it."
"Good morning, Doc."
"Oh, good morning, Inspector."
"You're looking pretty healthy for a corpse."

Category: Detective fiction

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