Without Reservations (1946)

Directed by Mervyn LeRoy

For a “fair to middlin'” romantic comedy, there are many to choose from and among them you would find Without Reservations, starring John Wayne and Claudette Colbert.

It is pleasant enough but doesn’t distinguish itself in any way, except for the curiosity of some Holywood stars’ cameo appearances.

Author of a hugely popular novel, Here is Tomorrow, Kit (Colbert) is off across the country to Hollywood where her book is to be made into a movie. Her book presents her views of love and how it should appear in the 20th century (circa 1946).

On her way across the country, she runs into Rusty (Wayne) and his sidekick Dink (Don DeFore).

Dink, Rusty and Kit enjoy a train ride (Don DeFore, John Wayne and Claudette Colbert).

It turns out Rusty fits the physical image of Kit’s hero perfectly.

Complications arise, as they do in romantic comedies, when Kit gets to know Rusty and Dink a bit better and sees that Rusty’s views on love are in complete opposition to hers.

In fact, Rusty doesn’t understand why anyone would want to make a movie out of a book that contains such silly views.

Of course, he doesn’t realize Colbert’s Kit is is author.

You can guess how the movie plays out and resolves. It’s a Hollywood fantasy of the forties, a bit frothy but also entertaining.

Romance is inevitable when opposites meet.

It’s worth a look to see John Wayne playing a military character who isn’t firing guns and leading troops into battle but rather on leave and back enjoying the home front.

He plays Rusty very well — in fact, you get the sense that Rusty views are probably Wayne’s.

It’s worth noting that this is kind of a “chick flick” of the period.

Unlike something more contemporary like Under a Tuscan Sun (written and directed by Audrey Wells), Without Reservations is a movie made by men during the 1940s and it shows. An audience of today may find the portrayal of relationships between men and women a bit … well, a bit anachronistic.

Still, it’s a nice, light romantic comedy.

 

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