Movie Critique - Mr. and Mrs. North
Stars: 2 / 5
Recommendation: A very disappointing comedy mystery film for those who have already heard them on radio. However if you are watching them for the first time you will definitely like the plot, the characters and the comedy blended with mystery.
Mr. and Mrs. North is a 1942 American comedy mystery film directed by Robert B. Sinclair and produced by Irving Asher. The film is based on a 1941 Broadway play by Owen Davis which in turn was based on three short stories from the series of mystery novels by Frances and Richard Lockridge. Screenplay for this film was written by S. K. Lauren.
Gracie Allen as Pamela "Pam" North and William Post Jr. as Gerald P. "Gerry" North form a husband and wife amateur detective duo in the film. The characters Pam and Gerry North were created by Frances and Richard Lockridge, a husband-and-wife duo of writers. They appeared in a total of 26 novels, one Broadway play, one movie and several episodes of radio and tv series.
In this film, Jerry and Pam find a body in their liquor closet after they return home from being a night away. The dead man turns out to be Pam's friend Carol's (portrayed by Rose Hobart) husband Stanley Brent. Now it is up to the Norths to find the real culprit behind the murder.
Your guess is right here. I have heard several episodes of the radio show of the same name in the old time radio podcasts. While on radio Joseph Curtin and Alice Frost played Mr. and Mrs. North; in the Broadway play they were played by Albert Hackett and Peggy Conklin; and on TV it was played by Richard Denning and Barbara Britton. Radio show lasted the longest - 12 years.
Gracie Allen and William Post Jr. make a very compatible Mr. and Mrs. North; their chemistry is spot-on and the comic banter back and forth also makes their roles very believable. However Mrs. North's portrayal in the film was very disappointing. She is very talkative, always misleading everyone around her. And Mr. North is shown as a person who would jump at his own shadow. Contrary to their radio counterparts where they are more polished, amateur yet professional and brave too.
I don’t remember in any of the episodes I have heard so far on radio of Mr. and Mrs. North show, Mrs. North talking mile a minute with going on and on and on. Look at the end titles, she even keeps talking on and on and on until they end. Also they sounded more scared than brave to solve the case as opposed to how they are portrayed on the radio. It was a bit surprising for me, and I think it made the movie a bit of low-key because of that.
As much as I loved the radio episodes, I am not really pleased with the film. They show a different kind of the Norths compared to what I imagined for them after hearing them on radio. A very disappointing comedy mystery film for those who have already heard them on radio. However if you are watching them for the first time you will definitely like the plot, the characters and the comedy blended with mystery.
1) Movie Trivia:
a. Look out for radio and film noir regulars Virginia Grey as Jane Wilson and Tom Conway as Louis Berex.
b. The film was distributed by MGM in some locations on a double bill with the 1942 The Bugle Sounds.
2) Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:
a. In the longshot if you see you can see Pam with open arms trying to hug Gerry when she meets him. But in the close-up shot she has her hands folded and her purse is under her arm.