Spring Fever (1927 film)
|Directed by||Edward Sedgwick|
|Written by||Frank Davis
Ralph Spence (titles)
|Based on||Spring Fever
by Vincent Lawrence
|Cinematography||Ira H. Morgan|
Spring Fever is a 1927 America silent comedy film starring William Haines and Joan Crawford, and directed by Edward Sedgwick. Based on the 1925 play of the same name by Vincent Lawrence, this was the second film starring Haines and Crawford, and their first onscreen romantic teaming.
Haines plays a shipping clerk named Jack Kelly. He neglected golf to work for the aging Mr. Waters (George Fawcett). On one day, Mr. Waters fires Pop Kelly (Bert Woodruff). Jack witnesses this and is outraged. He wants revenge and breaks a window with a golf ball. Mr. Waters catches him but, instead of being mad, he is impressed with Jack's golfing skills. He later that day announces to his dad he is invited by The Oakmont Country Club to be a guest of the club for a minimum of two weeks. His role there will be the teacher of Mr. Waters, trying to teach him how to golf. Pop doesn't want to say goodbye, but lets him go.
At the club, he meets Allie Monte (Joan Crawford) and immediately falls in love with her. He introduces himself as a member from the shipping business of her family. However, Allie sees through him and walks away. Harold Johnson (Edward Earle) is the club champion and devotes himself to Allie. He tries to get his attention at a game, but she is not charmed with his presence. Over the days, the members - including Allie - become more pleased with Jack as he teaches everyone how to golf.
Jack and Allie bond with each other. Johnson feels intimidated by Jack, fearing he could take over the championship title and his girl. Jack kisses Allie, but she storms off. He tries to apologize, but she refuses to talk to him. Therefore he climbs into her room, staying there until she forgives him.
The next day, Jack sets a record with the golf tournament. While giving his victory speech, he notices his father, who came there to tell his son how proud he is of him. Jack realizes his club membership is almost over and swears he will marry a rich girl, which would make him allowed to stay at the club. He decides to propose to Allie, but she informs him her father has just lost all of his money. She admits she now has to marry a wealthy man to keep her social position.
They are interrupted by Martha Lomsdom (Eileen Percy), who invites them to a party. On their way, Jack sees Allie is flirting with Johnson, so he does the same with the wealthy Martha. At the party, Johnson announces he and Allie are engaged. Jack is devastated, but Martha sees an opportunity in luring him. Her beau confronts her, but she responds she is willing to leave him for Jack. Jack now admits he is not the person to marry for money. When he meets up with Allie to say goodbye, he realizes he can't live without her and tells her he loves her.
Allie admits she loves him too, but reminds him she is already engaged to Johnson. They decide to run off and marry. Allie tells her dad Jack is a millionaire shipping man. Jack is afraid to tell her the truth about his income. But when he does, she throws him out. Her family tells her it's a good riddance and she should get an annulment. Allie however refuses, stating he is her husband. In the final scene, Jack becomes rich with winning a golf tournament and is reunited with Allie.
- William Haines - Jack Kelly
- Joan Crawford - Allie Monte
- George K. Arthur - Eustace Tewksbury
- George Fawcett - Mr. Waters
Spring Fever was a great success despite some critical misgivings about the film itself. Variety noted, “Haines is a likable personality and should travel far. This picture, however, will not help him much. The players do well all around and Ralph Spence’s titles contribute effectively on the comedy end, but the director, Sedgwick, could not cope with a weak theme.” Author Lawrence J. Quirk later wrote of Joan Crawford's performance that "she manages to make her presence felt, and looks lovely as usual, despite it being a walk-through role."
The film proved to be so popular that the following year, William Haines was mobbed by fans at a personal appearance a professional golf tournament.
- Bradley, Edwin M. (2004). The First Hollywood Musicals: A Critical Filmography of 171 Features, 1927 Through 1932. McFarland. p. 110. ISBN 0-786-42029-4.
- Mann, William J. (1998). Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines, Hollywood's First Openly Gay Star. Viking Penguin. p. 136. ISBN 0-670-87155-9.
- Quirk, Lawrence J. (1968). The Films of Joan Crawford, First Edition. Cadillac Publishing Co., Inc. p. 52.
- Spring Fever DVD stats at silentera.com