It’s a chilly October night, here in The Golden Midwest. I’m snuggled down under a Smurf snuggie, have some Indian incense burning, and am generally being unproductive. Then I started thinking, “What should I write about next?”
No, tumblr, I’m not going to let anyone answer that question.
I’d like to call this post, “The Case For Grounds For Marriage.”
Now, I must give a preface that Warner Archive has said that the film needs to and will be remastered, before release. I simply love Kathryn Grayson with every fiber of my being (bean, ha) and will go out of my way, at all costs, to talk about her.
Having read most, if not all of the big reviews for Grounds For Marriage, from the time of its original release, I know that the film was not well received, by the critics. They were appalled by the idea that MGM would possibly put KG into a film in which much of the time is she not only not singing, she’s not talking. You see, Ina, Kathryn’s character, is stricken with a psychosomatic disorder, which has manifested as the complete inability to make a sound. She, in some strange turn of completely non-medically sound events, can’t even whisper. Now, overanalytics aside, this is a darn good little comedy! She’s opposite Van Johnson, who plays her ex-husband/doctor, and they play off of each other so well that it’s an absolute shame that we never got to see them together, on screen, again. (They toured together in Love Letters, many years later.) Since she’s without voice, Kathryn does spend the bulk of the film, in pantomime, where she proves herself as a damn fine actress. Her facial expressions are just unbelievable. She’s just so fun. It’s not the demure, often quiet, little Kathryn from most of her 40’s films. This is fun, exciting, hilarious, and sassy Kathryn a full two years before she’d prove to be quite a little hot head, in Kiss Me Kate.
The shame of all of this? It’s never been a commercial release. You can catch it on TCM, from time to time, but the world has really never had access to it. Kathryn’s fans, along with Van’s fans (I hope he has a fan club, with that very name), have never been able to own it, and they should! It’s Kathryn at her best, and Van at his comically confused funniest, and no one gets to know that! While I’d love to be able to say that you can go buy this at WarnerArchive.com, right now, I’m sure it’s at least a few years out. So, I’ll cry about it, for a few years, like I did with Cairo, and then I’ll take credit for it, when it comes out. :) I kid. About the last part. I WILL cry about it, on the inside.