A Lady Takes a Chance (1943, William Seiter)

Jean Arthur in her fourth-to-last movie. Her gentle, distinctively high voice floats above the constant hiss of background noise, barely audible but still clear as day.

She flees her three obnoxious suitors: pathetic, proper Grady Sutton (baddie of The Sun Shines Bright), unmemorable middleman Hans Conried and crude, punchy Grant Withers (a Clanton clansman in My Darling Clementine) for a Western bus tour, then loses the bus, ending up with handsome rodeo cowboy John Wayne (four years after Stagecoach but still not above crap like this).

Also, Charles Winninger, Judge Priest himself in The Sun Shines Bright (IMDB calls him “ever-huggable”) does his best Stumpy impression as Duke’s buddy Waco.

Seiter, eight years and 25 movies after Roberta, cranking ’em out too fast. Story writer Jo Swerling was oscar-nominated the previous year, would later cowrite Guys & Dolls on broadway. Produced by Jean Arthur’s husband, who cowrote her The More The Merrier the same year.

My favorite sentence from the TCM synopsis: “Joining Mollie in the hay, Duke warns her that he isn’t marriage material and speaks fondly of his horse, Sammy.”

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