inspirethoughts

Movie Critique - Our Miss Brooks

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: Witty humor, timing of comedy, all the while giving the viewers subtle hints of the actual facts of life, the troubles everyone faces and overcomes, and some moral lessons to keep one in toe. And helping people mend their lives in the process.

Our Miss Brooks is a 1956 American comedy film based on the radio and TV sitcom of the same name. Directed by Al Lewis, the movie was produced by David Weisbart. The film has a different story line than the radio or TV show. The main character however remained same, unmarried, sarcastic English literature and grammar teacher, Connie Brooks.

Constance "Connie" Brooks (portrayed by Eve Arden) meets handsome biology teacher, Phillip Boynton (portrayed by Robert Rockwell) and also the father of one of her students, wealthy local newspaper publisher Lawrence Nolan (portrayed by Don Porter) at the midwestern school that she teaches English. Both start to court her, but an election campaign; unwilling for commitment; and a misunderstanding; lead to a tale of comedy of errors, romance and some one to do a much needed English nazi role. 

I have heard numerous radio episodes of "Our Miss Brooks" on the old time radio podcasts that I have been listening to in the past two years. Every single episode that I had heard so far were filled with comedy, Miss Brook's dry humor, and in the process provides some moral lessons and education lessons to the listeners. 

Never knew that this show went on to TV and film. And when TCM aired the film recently I wanted to see if I would like it the same way. And indeed I loved it. Wish they could have made mote movies surrounding Miss Brooks. 

Eve Arden as Connie Brooks and Gale Gordon as Osgood Conklin, the high school principal, reprise their roles in the TV sitcom and the film. However Phillip Boynton's role is played by Jeff Chandler on radio and Robert Rockwell on TV and film. The film was released two weeks before the final episode of the TV show aired, almost forming like a farewell to the show and Miss Brooks. 

Although in the TV show the entire cast is moved to a private school, the film takes them back to Madison High School where the radio show was originally set. Screenplay was written by director Al Lewis and Joseph Quillan. AL Lewis had written, directed and created the radio and TV show as well. All of this comedy that entertained viewers and listeners for almost 20 years stemmed from an idea by Robert Mann. 

After seeing Eve Arden in the film I realized she played the role of Henrietta, Teddy's cabin mate in the 1938 American romantic comedy, Having Wonderful Time, which I saw recently and posted about it. I failed to realize she was the same Eve Arden. Robert Rockwell makes a very funny and handsome Phillip Boynton. 

Witty humor, timing of comedy, all the while giving the viewers subtle hints of the actual facts of life, the troubles everyone faces and overcomes, and some moral lessons to keep one in toe. And helping people mend their lives in the process.

Spoiler Alerts:

1) Movie Trivia:

a. The radio show aired on CBS from 1948 thru 1957 while the TV sitcom from 1952 thru 1956.

b. Wow a house with a yard and a picket fence was being sold for $12,000 in 1956. My My, approx 70 years later and how much high the prices have increased.

2) Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:

a. When both Mr. Conklin and Mr. Boynton try to come aboard Mr. Nolan's yacht, they step on a rung of the ladder, which breaks. In both the cases, the scene immediately that follows shows the ladder unbroken of any rungs.

b. The scene showing the only female reporter at the newspaper office walking from her office to the water stand and back is reused twice. The girl who played the female reporter, Miss Lonelyhearts, was June Blair, her very first role on screen.


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