Roberta

  • Directors: William A Seiter
  • Producers: Pandro S Berman
  • Writers: Jane Murfin, Based on the musical by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach and a novel by Alice Duer Miller
  • Genres: Comedy, Musical, Romance
  • Actors: Irene Dunne, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Randolph Scott

John Kent (Randolph Scott), a former star football player at Harvard, goes to Paris with his friend Huck Haines (Fred Astaire) and the latter’s dance band, the Wabash Indianians. Alexander Voyda (Luis Alberni) has booked the band, but refuses to let them play when he finds the musicians are not the Indians he expected, but merely from the state.

John turns to the only person he knows in Paris for help, his Aunt Minnie (Helen Westley), who owns the fashionable “Roberta” gown shop. While there, he meets her chief assistant (and secretly the head designer), Stephanie (Irene Dunne). John is quickly smitten with her.

Meanwhile, Huck unexpectedly stumbles upon someone he knows very well. “Countess Scharwenka”, a temperamental customer at Roberta’s, turns out to be his hometown sweetheart Lizzie Gatz (Ginger Rogers). She gets Huck’s band an engagement at the nightclub where she is a featured entertainer.

Two things trouble John. One is Ladislaw (Victor Varconi), the handsome Russian doorman/deposed prince who seems too interested in Stephanie. The other is the memory of Sophie (Claire Dodd), the snobbish, conceited girlfriend he left behind after a quarrel over his lack of sophistication and polish.

When Aunt Minnie dies unexpectedly without leaving a will, John inherits the shop. Knowing nothing about women’s fashion and that his aunt intended for Stephanie to inherit the business, he persuades Stephanie to remain as his partner. Correspondents flock to hear what a football player has to say about feminine fashions. Huck gives the answers, making a lot of weird statements about the innovations John is planning to introduce.

The show is a triumph, helped by the entertaining of Huck, Countess Scharwenka, and the band. (A pre-stardom Lucille Ball, with platinum blond hair, appears uncredited in her first RKO film[1] as a model in the fashion show[2].) The closing sensation is a gown modeled by Stephanie herself. At the show, John overhears that she and Ladislaw are leaving Paris and mistakenly assumes that they have married. Later, he congratulates her for becoming a princess. When she informs him that Ladislaw is merely her cousin and that the title has been hers since birth, the lovers are reunited. Fred and Ginger do a final tap dance sequel.

The Awful Truth

  • Directors: Leo McCarey
  • Producers: Leo McCarey
  • Writers: Arthur Richman, Sidney Buchman
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance
  • Actors: Irene Dunne, Cary Grant

Jerry Warriner (Cary Grant) returns home from a trip to find his wife, Lucy (Irene Dunne), is not home. When she returns in the company of her handsome music teacher, Armand Duvalle (Alexander D’Arcy), he learns that she spent the night in the country with him, after his car supposedly broke down. Then, she discovers that Jerry hadn’t gone to Florida as he had claimed. Mutual suspicions result in divorce.

Lucy moves into an apartment with Aunt Patsy (Cecil Cunningham) and becomes engaged to her neighbor, Dan Leeson (Ralph Bellamy) from Oklahoma. However, Leeson’s mother (Esther Dale) does not approve of her. Eventually, Lucy realizes that she still loves Jerry and decides to break the engagement. However, before she can inform Dan, Armand shows up at her apartment to discuss Jerry’s earlier disastrous interruption of Lucy’s singing recital. When Jerry knocks on the door, Armand decides it would be prudent to hide in the bedroom. Jerry wants to reconcile, much to Lucy’s delight, but then Dan and his mother make an appearance. Wanting to avoid complications, Jerry slips into Lucy’s bedroom, too. A fight erupts when he finds Armand already there. When Jerry chases him out of the apartment, right in front of the Leesons, Dan and his mother stalk out.

Motorcycle policemen stop them, and Lucy, plotting to spend more time with Jerry, sabotages the car. The couple get a lift to her aunt’s cabin from the policemen. Once there, Jerry admits having made a fool of himself and they reconcile.