My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of classic comedy with romance, especially the trope of the serious guy whose world is overturned by the free-spirited woman who he thinks is All Wrong For Him. But it can't be a movie where the woman's a plot device, a manic pixie dreamgirl with no needs or desires of her own. It has to be a film where a woman is a strong, active character--think Bringing up Baby or Ball of Fire or The Lady Eve or even Born Yesterday. These were great films with strong women and men who (eventually) loved them.
And why don't we get films like this anymore? One reason may be these films were made for adult audiences, women and men, not adolescent boys who like explosions. They had wit, and characters the audience could respond to, and it was a golden age for actresses in Hollywood looking for good films where they were the star, actresses like Barbara Stanwyck and Rosalind Russell and Katherine Hepburn.
But I digress. The preceding rant was to illustrate why I liked The Songbird's Seduction so much. The hero's name, Archibald Grant, is an immediate tip-off. Cary Grant starred in Bringing Up Baby, among other films, and his real name was Archibald Leach. Archie falls in with chanteuse Lucy Eastlake, who's on her way to France to help her elderly aunts claim an inheritance. Along the way there's mayhem galore as Archie and Lucy get separated from the aunts (who end up with the best traveling companion ever), and the couple has to wend their way to the rubies on their own.
The Edwardian setting was also a nice touch. It allowed Lucy to act with more freedom (she has a career!) while highlighting a time and place and fashions that were glorious, but soon to be overturned by World War I.
Fans of Connie Brockway will love this, fans of screwball comedy will wonder why there's not more like this, and fans looking for a historical with a different setting will all enjoy The Songbird's Seduction.
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