GOOD GIRLS GO TO PARIS. Columbia Pictures, 1939. Melvyn Douglas, Joan Blondell, Walter Connolly, Alan Curtis, Joan Perry, Isabel Jeans. Director: Alexander Hall.

   A decent screwball type of comedy, one with a complicated plot, relatively speaking, and one that’s actually quite funny. Not of the side-splitting slapstick variety, but one that’s amusing all the way through.


   Melvyn Douglas plays a tweedy sort of visiting professor from England who befriends a waitress (Joan Blondell) who works at a hamburger joint close to campus.

   Her goal in life: to coerce a male student with a rich father who objects to their friendship to pay up with a trip to Paris. Blackmail? Yes, and Professor Brooke (that’s Douglas) tries his best to make her see the error of her ways.

   But here’s where a “flutter” somewhere inside her helps. That’s her conscience talking.

   And here’s where it gets complicated. Brooke’s future brother-in-law is Jenny Swanson’s next target, and somehow she works her way into his home (and Brooke’s fiancée) before Brooke himself gets there before the wedding – mostly by ingratiating herself with the patriarch of the upscale Brand family, played with the utmost gusto by Walter Connolly, who’d rather be back home in Minnesota than in New York City and having to deal with the pair of spoiled socialites he has as children.


   It is difficult to say exactly how this not very unique storyline leads itself to humor, but it does. Both Melvyn Douglas and especially Joan Blondell lend their physical talents to the proceedings as well as using their lines to good advantage, acting and reacting.

   That Melvyn Douglas and Joan Blondell end up with other may come as a surprise to perhaps one or two viewers of this film, but it will be obvious to everyone else within the first five minutes. Nonetheless it is touch and go for them for a good long time.

[UPDATE]   Later the same day.   As perhaps even intermittent readers of this blog will recall, Douglas and Blondell also appeared together in There’s Always a Woman. It came out the year before (1938), and I reviewed it here.

   But I watched this one first, wrote this review, and forgot to post it until now. (This was back in April when I was having problems with my hip.) I thought the earlier film was a little too mean-spirited, but it was obviously the story and not the two co-stars, since (as you’ve just read) I found this one to be exactly what screwball comedies are supposed to be: a little wacky and fun to watch.

   Having also now read the comments on both movies posted on IMDB, there is also the possibility that I am out of step with (almost) everyone else. As the old saying goes, “Humor is a funny thing.”

   And, for whatever it’s worth, a note on IMDB says “Originally titled Good Girls Go To Paris, Too, but the censors objected.” Hmm. You’ll have to think about that one — but not too long.