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With: Edward Arnold, Frances Farmer, Walter Brennan, Joel McCrea, Andrea Leeds
Written by: Jane Murfin, Jules Furthman, based on a novel by Edna Ferber
Directed by: Howard Hawks, William Wyler
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 99
Date: 11/06/1936

Come and Get It (1936)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Lumberjack of Hearts

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

After their previous collaboration, Barbary Coast, director Howard Hawks and producer Samuel Goldwynteamed up one more time. The result was a disaster, with Hawks walking out onthis picture. William Wyler, a filmmaker much closer to Goldwyn's sensibility,stepped in to finish the final sequences; they have a gauzy, soap-opera qualitylacking in Hawks's footage. Yet Comeand Get It still feels like a cohesivewhole with one director's stamp on it.

Based on a novel by Edna Ferber, the story tracks burly logger Barney Glasgow (Edward Arnold) as he moves up through the ranks of business. With his good buddy Swan Bostrom (Walter Brennan), he works hard and plays hard, and falls in love with a bawdy saloon singer, Lotta Morgan (Frances Farmer). At the end of the day, he dutifully marries the boss's daughter and takes over the business, while Swan marries Lotta. Years later, Lotta is gone, but her grown daughter (also Farmer) looks just like her. Barney attempts to seduce her, but finds competition with his own grown son, Richard (Joel McCrea).

This drippy material was generally not the kind of stuff that suited Hawks, but he made the best of it with the film's spirited barroom brawls and a delightful scene in which McCrea and Farmer pull taffy together. Come and Get It made a star of beautiful girl-next-door Farmer, though soon after she quit Hollywood forever and spent the rest of her life in and out of asylums, wrongfully diagnosed as "mentally incompetent." (Jessica Lange famously portrayed Farmer in the 1982 biopic Frances.) Brennan won his third Oscar as Swan, a touching goofy sidekick with a Swedish accent and a warm heart. But Arnold was not much of a lead man, and his brusque nature distances the film slightly. The film's best scenes, the logging footage, were not directed by either Hawks or Wyler, but by an uncredited fellow named Richard Rosson.

DVD Details: MGM/UA has released this old United Artists nugget in a bargain DVD with no extras.

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