Monday, August 12, 2013

Spring Madness (1938)


Spring Madness is comparable to one of those cutesy tween movies that are put out today. I really hate to compare a classic comedy starring two great classic actors but that is what I feel is a good comparison and one of the best ways to explain it. Actually think of Spring Madness as an episode of a show like Glee or some Disney show.
            Sam Thatcher (Lew Ayres) and his friend Lippencott (Burgess Meredith) are leaving for Russia for two years after their graduation to write a book about the Russian economy and youth. During Spring Break Sam had gotten together with a girl named Alex Benson (Maureen O’Sullivan) and she invited him to her school’s spring dance. Sam has not even told Alex about his two year trip. He tells Lippencott he only likes Alex as a friend there was nothing serious between them.
            Lippencott’s cousin Frances is friends with Alex. Frances tells the girls that Sam is a rat for having not told Alex about his trip. Sam swears he is not backing out of their trip and writes a letter to Alex to say that he cannot make the dance. Well, at least he tells Lippencott he is writing a letter he is not going in reality he writes Alex to let her know that he can go. Sam gets a letter that the ship to Russia will be leaving earlier than expected. He sends a cable to Alex that he cannot make the dance now. He confesses to Lippencott that he is in love with Alex. Lippencott does not like what his friend has told him. Now all the girls think Sam is a terrible person. Alex does not listen to them she really loves Sam.
            Sam goes to the house where Alex lives to tell her about Russia. Lippencott follows to keep his friend in line and ready to leave the day the ship does. Lippencott gets more than he bargained for with one of the girls named Kate (Ruth Hussey). Same tells Alex about Russia. She tries not to be too upset but her sadness shows on her face.
            The girls try to get this one girl Mae to have her newspaper owner father to give Sam a job his newspaper so he can stay in the States with Alex. They also come up with the idea to tell Sam that their English teacher Mr. Beckett likes Alex. Sam eventually figures out that Mae had her father send him the wire with the job offer. He gets mad at Alex thinking she made Mae send the letter. He says he cannot stay. Alex tells him to go and he gets a little surprised that she is telling him to do so.
            Francis and another friend named Sally make a plan to get the boys arrested. They have the cops come in to serve Sam and Lippencott a parking ticket. The girls start in with the cops about giving them a ticket and the cops get the boys thrown in jail.
            Alex does not want to go to the dance without Sam or without a date. The phone rings. Mr. Beckett is on the other end asking for her. Out of jail, Sam goes back to the house looking for Alex. He hears that Mr. Beckett wants to take her to the dance.
            Hopefully you know that Alex and Sam make up and go to the dance together because for some reason I did not take note on what happened after Sam heard about Beckett wanting to take Alex to the dance.
            The cast was very good. Maureen O’Sullivan is always a delight to watch in films. She is so sweet and adorable. You feel bad for her when Sam told her he could not go to the dance anymore. Lew Ayres was good but it felt like he was miscast. He seemed too old to be playing a young man out of college and having silly games like the ones the girls concocted played on him. Burgess Meredith I have not been too crazy about in the films I have seen with him but I found him hilarious in this. He was fumbling all over the place. Ruth Hussey was fabulous. She was funny and tough.

            Alright so Spring Madness is not as an episode of Glee (I hate Glee FYI) or a Disney show/movie but it reminded me of one. It reminded me of one because I can just picture this type of scenario where the boy cannot make the important school dance and the girl freaking out. The big difference between this story in Spring Madness and it being in a modern TV show/movie is that Spring Madness, even though it is not that great, is enjoyable and well acted.