The Groom Wore Spurs (1951)
Director: Richard Whorf
Cast: Ginger Rogers, Jack Carson, Joan Davis
Synopsis: Lawyer Ginger Rogers is hired to keep dumb cowboy Jack Carson out of trouble.
Ginger Rogers’ A. J, Furnival has to be one of the most naive lawyers in celluloid history. Employed by Hollywood cowboy star Ben Castle (Jack Carson) to sort out a Las Vegas gambling debt, she allows herself to be seduced into marrying him within the space of a couple of short conversations and one short flight, despite plentiful evidence that he is a ladies man with a taste for the high life. He only wanted her because he knew the gangster he owed money to was friendly with her old man and would write off the debt when he discovered they were man and wife.
Despite only the faintest of attention being paid to realism, this low-budget comedy does manage to raise a few scattered laughs and is entertaining enough in its own modest way. By 1951 Ginger Rogers was past her prime — although she was still a mighty fine looking woman — and Jack Carson, who had always been a reliable comical supporting actor, was beginning to look a little thick around the waist. He sucks in his gut for all he’s worth as he strides around in a Hollywood cowboy outfit, but he’s fooling nobody, and it’s difficult to believe a fine, sassy-looking woman like A. J. would fall for his ‘charms’.
The film takes a few swipes at the nature of Hollywood illusion that are mildly amusing. A. J. soon learns that singing cowboy star Castle is scared of horses and can’t carry a tune to save his life. His marriage stunt would land him with a multi-million dollar lawsuit and an expose on E! Entertainment Channel today, but the 50s were more innocent times (according to Hollywood), and having discovered she’s been duped, A. J. takes the advice of her inevitably ‘goofy’ room-mate, and moves into Castle’s mansion with the intention of making his life miserable. Of course, she can’t keep up the act for long, and a silly murder sub-plot tacked on to the final reel ensures it’s not long before she’s back in Castle’s arms.
Don’t expect great things from this comedy and you won’t be disappointed. It’s typical B-movie fare, bright and breezy with no artistic ambitions. Ginger Rogers was quite an adept screen comedienne, and she’s always pleasing to watch, but it’s reliable old Jack Carson who gets all the laughs here.
(Reviewed 27th September 2009)