Monday, May 6, 2019
The Magnificent Rogue (1946)
Enterprising woman Pat Morgan has been managing her husband's business during his time in the military, but now that he's home the overly traditional Steve insists that his wife not work, but instead stay at home as a cooking, cleaning, and baby-raising housewife. Pat strenuously objects to this, and the pair's mutual friend, the secretly duplicitous Vera, eggs the two on to have a contest determining each-other's marketing skills in order to win a new cigarette contract. Unfortunately for Steve, the owner of said company is the dashing Mark Townley, a man with a reputation for how he handles women as well as business, and it doesn't take long for Pat to start falling for his charms...
The Magnificent Rogue is a thoroughly entertaining romantic comedy, with a lively cast of characters. A few years ago I saw a Doris Day-James Garner picture focusing on a similar subject matter, that was absolutely awful! The whole runtime I couldn't tell if it was a commentary on the battle of the sexes, or unironically siding with the sexist husband, which in itself is a problem. By thr end of it, it was a dirty and unpleasant affair. The Magnificent Rogue on the other hand makes it quite clear from the outset that Pat is a more than capable businessman...errr businesswoman, and that her husband is being unreasonable.
Since this film is from the 1940s, you're probably wondering if it sticks to its guns, or caves in to the traditions of its time. Well, it never says that Pat will give up her job by the end, but she certainly does seem to be on her way to becoming a good little 1940s housewife. All in a rush, too! It's like the film was in a 30 second hurry to be sexist before the credits rolled.
The characters are the best part, and without them the whole film would come apart. Their interactions are all golden. Everyone learns the right lessons by the end and everyone gets their just desserts.
Steve is old fashioned to an annoying degree, but in a way that's entertaining to watch because of the conflict it creates. He's never so legitimately annoying that it makes the film hard to watch, even though I wanted to bop him one a couple of times. As for Mark, he may be a wolf, but he's a considerate wolf, and one who's always open to criticism and feedback. He's actually a good portrayal of how a businessman should act!
Vera on the other hand is pretty loathsome, sort-of in a fun way, sorta in a you wish someone would smack her kind of way. At first I thought there's be a Too Many Husbands style comedy of errors and everyone would end up with the other person in their lives rather than who they started out with, therefore Steve would get together with Vera, but nope! She gets exactly what's coming to her thankfully.
Burlesque queen Sugar Lee has a fiery temper that borders on crazy, but she has a heart of gold, and seems genuinely nice. She became my favourite character by the end, and really gets her time to shine despite her smaller amount of screentime compared to the others.
And lastly, a couple of the more minor characters here get a few funny moments, like Pat's business partner Thomas and his kooky mother.
The actors here all do a great job. Lynne Roberts is a fun lead with good chemistry with everyone present, including both love interests. Warren Douglas succeeds in making his character have heart despite his annoying side, and Gerald Mohr delivers a good mix of slightly womanising, but sincere nonetheless.
Stephanie Bachelor gets across the two-faced nature of her character's personality very well, while Adele Mara is lovely and endearing, as well as pretty hilarious as Sugar Lee.
To finish, The Magnificent Rogue is a great time to be had! I highly recommend it...