June Bride

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June Bride
June Bride film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Bretaigne Windust
Produced by Henry Blanke
Written by Graeme Lorimer (play)
Elaine Tighe (play)
Ranald MacDougall
Starring Bette Davis
Robert Montgomery
Music by David Buttolph
Cinematography Ted D. McCord
Production
  company
Warner Bros.
Release date(s)
  • October 29, 1948 (1948-10-29)
Running time 96 minutes
Country United States
Language English

June Bride is a 1948 American comedy film directed by Bretaigne Windust. Ranald MacDougall's screenplay, based on the unproduced play Feature for June by Eileen Tighe and Graeme Lorimer, was nominated for the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Comedy. The film starred Bette Davis and Robert Montgomery. The Warner Bros. release marked the screen debut of Debbie Reynolds, although her appearance was uncredited.

Plot[edit]

Foreign correspondent Carey Jackson returns to New York City when his newspaper's Vienna office is closed and is offered a job on a women's magazine called Home Life. He accepts the position only because it will put him in daily contact with editor Linda Gilman, whom he once loved. Linda is averse to the idea because of his leaving her three years earlier, but agrees to hire him if he will keep their relationship on a strictly professional level.

The two head for the Brinker home in Crestville, Indiana to prepare a feature story about eldest daughter Jeanne's wedding to Bud Mitchell for the June issue. Linda wants Carey to write a simple story about the young couple, but he insists on looking for an angle, which presents itself in the form of Jeanne's younger sister Barbara, who confesses she always has been in love with Bud, the brother of Jeanne's former beau Jim, who was dumped by Jeanne when he joined the Army. At first Carey proposes they ask an officer he knows to order Jim home for the wedding, but thinks better of it, knowing he will lose his job if the wedding plans are disrupted. Barbara, however, secretly telephones Carey's friend and arranges a leave for Jim.

Complications ensue when Jim arrives home and Carey tries to get rid of him while Linda, unaware of the reality of the situation, intervenes and makes him stay. Jim and Jeanne elope, Linda fires Carey, Carey feigns interest in Barbara to make Bud jealous, and the scheme succeeds, with Bud proposing to Barbara. Despite losing his job, Carey writes his story, Linda realizes he always knew the truth about the couples, and the two reconcile.

Production[edit]

Paramount Pictures also considered producing a film version of Tighe and Lorimer's play which Tighe, the editor of House and Garden, had considered adapting into a stage musical.

Bette Davis wanted either Dennis Morgan or Jack Carson for her co-star, but director Windust and producer Henry Blanke convinced her to accept Robert Montgomery as her leading man, arguing he had a larger fan base. Blanke later admitted they believed the mid-forties Montgomery would make 40-year-old Davis look younger, but after watching the rushes, he realized the casting achieved the opposite effect, with Davis making Montgomery look younger.

June Bride was filmed during the 1948 Presidential campaign. A line of dialogue delivered by Mary Wickes, referring to the refurbishment the old-fashioned Brinker home, a dowdy house crammed full of Victoriana kitsch, desperately needed, was filmed twice, once as "How can I convert this McKinley stinker into a Dewey modern?" and the second time with the name Truman substituted for Dewey. When the film opened in Manhattan in late October, Dewey seemed a sure win, so the Dewey line was retained. When Truman unexpectedly won the election, a revised reel was sent to theaters. Davis, a staunch Truman supporter, sent Montgomery, who had headed the Hollywood Republican Committee to elect Dewey, a gloating telegram.

The film's success proved to be an oasis for Davis and Warner Brothers considering that her last two films prior to June Bride were box-office disappointments. As a result, Davis was given a new, four-picture contract with a salary of $10,285 a week, making her the highest paid woman in the United States at the time.[1]

Davis reprised her role of Linda Gilman in an August 29, 1949 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast co-starring James Stewart as Carey Jackson. Irene Dunne and Fred MacMurray assumed the roles in a second Lux adaptation on December 28, 1953, and Marguerite Chapman and Jerome Thor starred in a Lux Video Theatre telecast on August 25, 1955.[2]

Cast[edit]

  • Bette Davis as Linda Gilman
  • Robert Montgomery as Carey Jackson
  • Fay Bainter as Paula Winthrop
  • Betty Lynn as Barbara Brinker
  • Tom Tully as Whitman Brinker
  • Barbara Bates as Jeanne Brinker
  • Jerome Cowan as Carleton Towne
  • Mary Wickes as Rosemary McNally
  • Raymond Roe as Bud Mitchell
  • Ray Montgomery as Jim Mitchell

Critical reception[edit]

In his review in the New York Times, Bosley Crowther described the film as "a delightful vehicle [and] a sophisticated thing, largely dependent for its humors upon a complex of wry attitudes . . . [It is] also a pretty solid story of good old home-town folks, never too soggy with sentiment and just a shade satiric around the edge . . . Maybe we owe our fullest tributes to Ranald MacDougall, who . . . has written some urbane dialogue which has more bounce and bubble in it than any we've recently heard. Maybe we owe Bretaigne Windust our particular votes of thanks for a fine job of volatile directing . . . Maybe we owe Miss Davis and Mr. Montgomery our special gratitude for playing a couple of smart worldlings with a lovely talent for the comic touch, for timing a line or a gesture to the micrometric dot . . . But this isn't a case where special mentions should be too specifically indulged. Everybody concerned does a grand job." [3]

Time said, "Thanks largely to some bright dialogue and an artful performance by Robert Montgomery, this is the best Bette Davis picture in some time." [4]

References[edit]

External links[edit]