This is a classic comedy from 1937. George (Cary Grant) and Marion Kerby (Constance Bennett) are a very wealthy married couple. They have quite a large social circle and seem to be known in every club around town. They live a life of luxury, have few responsibilities and are quite the partiers.
One of George’s responsibilities is being on the board of directors at a bank. The board meeting isn’t until the next morning so he and his wife decide to go clubbing through the night. I loved the club that you could only enter by going down a giant slide (keep in mind everyone is wearing tuxes and evening gowns).
After all the clubs have closed down they still have some time to kill before the meeting. So they park in front of the bank and sleep in their very fancy sportscar, which I should add, is a convertible. They draw quite the crowd around them as morning arrives and they are still fast asleep.
George wakes up and realizes that the meeting is just starting. He jumps out of the car and hurries into the bank. Causing a lot of commotion as he skids to a stop by his chair and kinda leaps into it. The looks he gets from the bank president, Cosmo Topper (Roland Young) makes it pretty obvious that this is normal behavior from George.
Topper’s wife, Clara (Billie Burke), runs his entire life down to the minute. She tells him how long he has to shower, eat breakfast, what he gets to eat and so on. Poor Topper is a man just going through the motions; there is no joy in his life. Which is why he is so intrigued by the Kerby’s, while at the same time being exasperated by them. They are unconventional, fun loving and live life to the fullest.
Things take a drastic change for the Kerby’s when George’s wild driving results in their car hitting a tree. Which kills both of them. Instead of moving on they end up as ghosts. They decide what must be holding them there is the fact that they haven’t done any good deeds. The perfect good deed seems to be fixing Topper’s life.
However, their way of helping Topper is to turn his highly structured life into chaos. Since they don’t want anyone else that knows them to see them after their death they turn invisible when others are around. However, that doesn’t mean that they behave themselves. Which results in Topper being thrown into embarrassing/bizarre situations.
This is a fun and at times very silly movie. The cast all did a great job with their respective parts. I am especially fond of Cary Grant. He has this way of doing silly/humorous things while still having an air of dignity about him. I was amazed at how well the special effects (lots of invisible people moving things scenes) were done, remember this is from 1937. It’s also fun to see how formally dressed everyone is all the time, very different from today (not that I would want to actually have to dress like that … I like today’s casual styles very much thank you).
Some of my favorite quotes:
George – “My pet, resting is the sort of thing you gotta work up to gradually. It’s very dangerous to rest all of a sudden.”
George – “Come on Marion, let’s roll.”
Marion – “Oh no, I don’t want to leave Topper. Some how I feel if I could pull him apart, I could put him together again and he’d work much better.”
Topper – “Oh, sparrows!”
Clara – “Why do you use that silly word?”
Topper – “Because you won’t let me swear like a gentleman.”
Topper – “What if I just sat quietly here and felt like dancing? That’d be all right wouldn’t it?”
Clara – “No one with any self respect will ever cross our threshold again.”
Clara – “No one but a fallen woman would wear something like that.”
Topper – “Having a little chair trouble, but you’ll pay no attention to it.”
George – “Hey, you know this is the best fight we ever had.”
Following is additional information about the movie that contains spoilers. If you don’t want to be spoiled don’t read any further.
The scene when the chair is following Topper around the hotel lobby is great. I loved how he tried to act so nonchalant about it.
It was fun to see Topper finally get to break out of his restrictive life and have some fun.
I also liked Clara’s butler giving her advice on how to win her husband back. It was a cute scene.