Production Company: Columbia
Top Billed Actors: Warren William, May Robson, Guy Kibbee
IMDb Rating: 7.5
*Best Picture Nominee*
Won 0 Oscars
Nominated for 4 more:
Best Director - Frank Capra
Best Actress - May Robson
Best Writing (Adapted) - Robert Riskin
Plot: A peddler from New York lies to her daughter by claiming she's from high society so when the daughter visits from Spain, the woman has to be a lady for a day... or seven.
The narrative of the movie is simply delightful. A New York peddler who sells apples on the street writes to her daughter with the stationary of the most lavish hotel in the city. Because the daughter is dating a Count's son in Spain, the mother (Robson) wants to create the illusion that she lives in high society. However, the daughter is visiting with the Count's son and the Count himself! Warren William is a mafia leader who thinks that Robson's apples are lucky for him. One thing leads to another and he finds himself helping her pretend she really is a member of high society, Pygmalion style. A lot of tense moments occur throughout this as the viewer knows it is all a charade but the three guests do not. Humor is littered throughout the movie as well, especially when the whole gang is rehearsing for a reception (they all have to pretend they are members of society's elite as well). Most of it is mostly well acted and the story is smooth as silk. Capra gets a lot out of these little known actors and it is a shame he did not win his first Award for this picture.
Although the story is superb and very heartwarming, a few issues plague the experience. Some of the gangsters, even the head man himself, aren't the greatest of actors. They sometimes fit that stereotypical East-coast gangster attitude and way of speech. It gets rather annoying at times. Some dialogue between these characters had me shaking my head. I also wished they focused more on Robson in the latter half of the film. The focus kind of shifts to William and how he is helping the woman, but more than just a two minute scene in the garden is needed to show the mother-daughter relationship.
Overall, the engaging story had me rooting for Robson for the entirety of the film. It is interesting to see Capra's first film with Academy recognition and although some below average acting is present, this is still a solid start to his success.
My Score: 7/10