'When You're In Love': THR's 1937 Review
In February 1937, Columbia Pictures unveiled the musical When You're in Love, featuring star turns by Cary Grant and Grace Moore. The Hollywood Reporter's original review is below.
With a more substantial story than the last two Grace Moore vehicles, When You're in Love is a signal triumph for the foremost diva of the screen, for Cary Grant who should soar to stardom as a result of his performance in this, and for Robert Riskin, here notably handling his first directorial assignment. It is money in the bank for any house, due for holdover business in many spots.
Based on an original idea by Ethel Hill and Cedric Worth, the screenplay is fashioned of the sparkling stuff Riskin writes so well. As usual, he develops incidental characters to point to the characterizations of his principals, and as usual, his love scenes are packed with charming humor. His direction proves to be of the same school and is of exceedingly high order that has no mark of a first effort. The satire upon the spread of a rumor is delightful.
Grace Moore sings in superb voice, bringing down the house with an unexpected "hot" rendition of Cab Calloway's jazz classic "Minnie the Moocher," the arrangement of which is credited to Al Siegel. Miss Moore sells it for a highlight they will be talking about for weeks. She also has a new hit number in the ballad "Our Song," by Jerome Kern with lyrics by Dorothy Fields. The same songwriters give her a pleasant lullaby "The Whistling Boy," which is attractively staged as a novelty. Her other musical selections include Schubert's "Serenade," Lecuona's "Sibonay" and "In the Gloaming."
Matching her vocal contributions in every respect is an increased assurance in Grace Moore's acting performance. It is unquestionably her best to date and never has she appeared to better photographic advantage. In a rich, splendidly rounded role, Cary Grant delivers a smash performance. It too is his best work.
The plot deals with a marriage of convenience. An Australian opera star is awaiting her quota number in Mexico and, when it is delayed, she decides to wed an American that she may more quickly return. Her decision is dictated mainly by a desire to repay a debt she feels she owes to her old teacher. The man of her choice is a vagabond artist, interested only in painting what pleases him. From the conflict of strong-willed temperaments is developed their romance.
Criticism may be leveled at the preview version for its slow start in getting into the story and for several lengthy stretches of dialog which serve no purpose except as song cues. At an hour forty-five minutes, it is definitely too long.
The production supervision by Everett Riskin, associate producer, is top notch in every respect. Photography by Joseph Walker is high grade. Bows to the musical direction by Alfred Newman, sound recording by Lodge Cunningham, art direction by Stephan Goosson and gowns by Bernard Newman. Two lovely ballets were staged by Leon Leonidoff in spectacular style.
Aline MacMahon plays a secretary to score in each appearance. Henry Stephenson makes lovable his grand old music master. Thomas Mitchell is a hit as a press agent and Emma Dunn and George Pearce outstanding as elderly caretakers. Three members of the star's entourage are tellingly played by Catherine Doucet, Luis Alberni and Gerald Oliver Smith. Frank Puglia is very good as a Mexican attorney and there are two comedy gems by Billy Gilbert and Harry Holman. — originally published on Feb.13, 1937