Movie Critique - The Richest Girl in the World

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: It is a charming comedy no doubt, but the ending was not to my liking so it paled for me. 

The Richest Girl in the World is a 1934 American romantic comedy directed by William A. Seiter, produced by Pandro S. Berman who was also the head of RKO at that time, and obviously released by RKO Radio Pictures. The film stars Miriam Hopkins, Joel McCrea, Fay Wray, Reginald Denny and Henry Stephenson among others. 

Dorothy Hunter (portrayed by Miriam Hopkins), the richest girl in the world leads a very protected life who is kept out of public eye even after she becomes a grown woman. So when she returns back to America, she and her secretary Sylvia Lockwood (portrayed by Fay Wray), impersonate each other so she can try to weed out the ones who want to reach her because of her money. She falls in love with Anthony "Tony" Travers (portrayed by Joel McCrea), but her false representation may cause a rift in their love life.

The first time I read the synopsis of this movie on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Channel while checking out movies that were on schedule, it reminded me of the 1994 Indian Hindi language romantic comedy film Andaz Apna Apna (= Everyone Has Their Own Style). At least the basic synopsis, although there is a lot more of drama, romance, humor, and above all dance and song numbers in the Indian film. Although the Indian film doesn’t acknowledge if the story was based on this American film, I was curious if it was, and hence the review. 

Story and screenplay for the film was written by Norman Krasna for which he won an Academy Award nomination for Best Story. The open credits lists the cast as "The Players" as most often how it was credited in the 1930s and early 1940s.

Fay Wray had recently come off a huge hit with the 1933 American pre-Code monster adventure romance film King Kong. Her scream from that film has been forever immortalized and is still used today by many filmmakers where needed. Recently I watched the 1976 American comedy mystery movie Murder by Death. One of the character, Lionel Twain's home has a doorbell that uses this very same scream.

Though she mainly attained fame for her action in horror films, it was nice to see her in a romantic comedy. Fay portrays the role of Sylvia Lockwood, secretary to Miriam Hopkins' Dorothy Hunter. She makes a cute couple with Reginald Denny as her husband Phillip. 

Miriam Hopkins may not have been as successful as an actress like many of her contemporaries, she still managed to make 22 films between 1931 and 1937, all becoming hits. That was her most active period. 

Joel McCrea as Anthony "Tony" Travers makes a compatible co-star with Hopkins' Dorothy Hunter. And they have good enough chemistry to go on to make four more films. There are some comedy laced romantic scenes between them which are very very sweet. 

It's a decent comedy but I would liked to have a little more clarity for the characters in the end. Although it became a successful and charming comedy no doubt, but the ending was not to my liking so it paled for me. 

Spoiler Alerts:

1) Movie Trivia:

a. The film was remade in 1944 as Bride by Mistake with Laraine Day and Alan Marshal in the lead cast. But it did not become as successful as the original. 

b. Tony uses the line "It ain't a fit night out for man nor beast." when he first walks into the cabin. This line was made famous by W. C. Fields in the 1933 American pre-Code short film The Fatal Glass of Beer. 

c. Everyone keeps drinking something called "hot punch" in the movie and I was curious what that was. And I found this yum recipe for Hot Rum Punch. Might have to try one of these days. 


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