thatcow

Weak and incomplete

This film begins with a treasure hunt, which, having gone too easily, culminates with the search for a man and woman flawless in character.

Christopher Strong is the faithful married man, hauled in by his daughter as the pinnacle of male steadfastness.

Katherine Hepburn, in her second film, plays a very Hepburn-esque character, Lady Cynthia Darrington, a reckless aviatrix who finds little room for men in the cockpit of her plane. Naturally, she gets hauled in as the other beholden moral example.

Of course, these two fall in love.

The title is curious. Certainly Hepburn's name (and therefore her character) wouldn't be bankable at the time, Strong doesn't particularly stand out in what is, arguably, an ensemble piece. The best explanation is that something got lost in the adaptation from the novel.

Also interesting are the pre-code morals. First, Strong's daughter cavorts about with a married man, foreshadowing the elder's affair. Divorce eventually leads Strong's daughter to happiness, though that's out of the question for him. Strong soon hears of an impending grandchild, just as Darrington realizes she herself is pregnant.

The ending is a bit too pat, though not inappropriate for the times. There are some interesting questions raised here, but they aren't really covered in the scant 77 minutes given to the feature. What of Strong's wife, who clearly knows what her husband is doing? What even of the ex-wife of the daughter's new husband, who we never even see? The story ends, but is hardly complete. And despite taking on some weighty subject matter, we are kept a certain distance away from the emotional consequences.

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