Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Theodora Goes Wild


Nice little screwball comedy. This was the first comic role for Irene Dunne, and she turned out to be so good at it that she did a lot of them later on. It seemed to be an article of faith in these movies that the way to a woman’s heart was to be as obnoxious as possible. Melvyn Douglas is so grating, in fact, that I thought if he’d whistled “The Farmer in the Dell” (and what grown-up ever whistled “The Farmer in the Dell?”) in an almost supersonic key one more time I’d have to dig him up and stuff something in his mouth. She is a writer from a small town occupied almost entirely by the sort of “women’s club” biddies who are so easy to make fun of in their silly hats and frumpy clothes. Irene has written a “racy” novel under a pseudonym, and is desperate that the lynch mob of ladies who want to burn down the library don’t find out who she is. So Melvyn comes to town and starts a fresh scandal. But, aha! Irene turns the tables on him. She comes out of the closet and sets out to embarrass him and his stuffed shirt lieutenant governor father by being as flamboyantly outrageous as she knows how, and she’s damn good at it. It’s all light and lots of fun.