Letter of Introduction (1938)

Letter of Introductionletter of introduction poster 2
Directed by John M. Stahl
Written by Sheridan Gibney and Leonard Spigelgass; story by Bernice Boone
1938/USA
Universal Pictures

First viewing/Netflix rental

 

Tagline: Truly Great Entertainment – Great in theme…great in cast…and the great scalawag Charlie McCarthy

This is a truly odd little movie and not particularly interesting either.

Kay Martin (Andrea Leeds) is a struggling young actress who lives in a theatrical boarding house with a dance team (George Murphy and Rita Johnson), a ventriloquist (Edgar Bergen) and Cora (Eve Arden).  She has been carrying around a mysterious letter of introduction for months, believing it will get her a break in the theater.  Barry, the male half of the dance team, is in love with her.

When aging alcoholic movie star John Mannering (Adolphe Menjou) returns to town with his fiancee (Ann Sheritan), Kay takes the letter to him.  It is a letter from Kay’s mother informing Mannering that he is Kay’s father.  Mannering is overjoyed at the news but reluctant for the public to find out since he thinks it would age him to have a daughter about the age of his fiancée.  But he does want to spend lots of time with Kay, leading everyone, including Barry and the fiancée, to believe they are having a fling.

 

 

Letter of Introduction 1

Any movie with Eve Arden can’t be all bad and there is nothing exactly wrong with this one despite some melodrama.  The odd thing is that some long sequences of Edgar Bergen’s comedy act with Charlie McCarthy have been shoehorned into the story.  Whether this adds to the movie will depend on your opinion of the act.

 

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