Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Hold That Woman! (1940)

father chair, 15:44, 20:19, 21:30, 27, 31,

Jimmy Parker is a skip tracer, employed to repossess objects that haven't been paid back. Despite being such a menial job, it gets him into more hot water than =, especially when he tries collecting a radio from a vampy lady. She uses every trick in the book to keep Jimmy away, but this just makes him more determined. Unbeknownst to him, she and her boyfriend have stolen a movie star's jewels, and hidden them in the radio, and when Jimmy nabs it, his number might be up...

Hold That Woman is a film with serious explaining to do!...Literally, I mean that literally. It explains a lot to us in the first 20 minutes! I don't necessarily mean that as a bad thing, though I guess it depends on how easily you take in information. First we're introduced to = and his workplace, then the family and home life of his girlfriend, a failed retrieval mission and a night in jail followed by (brief) trial, as well as a seemingly unrelated (at first) subplot involving a French/foreign socialite's missing jewels. This is a heck of a lot thrown at the audience in such a short time, and at first I was confused, but once I got my bearings

The upside I can see to all this confusion is that it gets all of the explanations out of the gate at once, allowing for less interruptions for exposition

Things all come together in the end though, and while it does your head in to watch, and it's all very convenient for the leads, I found myself appreciating the effort the writer went to to connect everything together. The climax has lots of intrigue, and plenty of action, including a car chase. It's fun stuff!

Jimmy is a fun enough lead. Silly and a touch unskilled, but not so much that he's an incompetent mess. As for his girlfriend Mary, I liked her. She had serious moxie! At no point does she snap at Jimmy for his career even when it means a mission gone wrong makes him miss their date. In fact she goes right along with him to jail (half willingly to accompany him, half unwillingly as an accomplice)

The villains are a pretty stock standard bunch. Both factions (Yes, factions. I told you there were a lot of characters!). Everyone else is fine, though some of the characters are pretty superfluous, like Jimmy's identical friend.

The acting here is great. James Dunn and Frances Gifford, a real married couple at the time, play off marvellously with each-other. They're never snippy, and radiate chemistry, and you really believe why they're together, despite Jimmy basically being a comic relief character who's way out of Mary's 'league'. The rest of the performers do well, and even the French accent isn't too terrible (apologies if it turns out to be real!).

Despite its flaws, Hold That Woman is a fun little adventure, and its lighthearted nature makes it a rather pleasing headache to have...

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