Kiss the Bride Goodbye (1944)
|Jimmy Hanley & Patricia Medina|
Although the print and sound quality are appalling (something the DVD company Reknown actually apologises for at the start of the film), it’s reassuring that a film like ‘Kiss the Bride Goodbye’ is available to view. Firstly, we have a good example of Jimmy Hanley (as Jack Fowler) ...
... playing the ‘everyman’ character: a forward thinking working class lad who has been overseas with the army and just wants to settle down to life with his girlfriend Joan Dodd (Patricia Medina).
Secondly, we have an early appearance by a 15 year old Jean Simmonds (in her 4th film) who manages to carry the film despite playing the leading lady’s little sister, Molly.
Throw in a henpecked husband David Dodd(Wylie Watson) and his socially ambitious wife Gladys (Ellen Pollock) ...
|Wylie Watson & Ellen Pollock|
... and we have a recipe for what is a fairly good romantic comedy.The story centres around the romance between Hanley and Medina which falters after he stops writing from overseas where he is serving with the Royal Artillery. Under pressure from her mother, Medina takes up with a much older man (Claud Allister) ...
|Jean Simmonds & Claud Allister|
Politics and society aside, Jean Simmonds is the film’s shining light. She’s Medina’s schoolgirl little sister who always has the comedy lines. She’s the cheeky little girl when in her school uniform and the strident young woman when she’s dressed up, and made-up, for dates.
|Jean Simmonds & Ellen Pollock|
The theme of the teenage girl on the brink of womanhood, whose precocious behaviour is set loose in the uncertain world of wartime London, is one that would have been familiar with audiences in the 1940s. It was a period when the tales of teenage girls going ‘off the rails’ in a world filled with men in uniform filled the newspapers. It’s a subject covered in my book Blitz Kids, The Children’s War Against Hitler:
And in Jon Savage’s book Teenage:
Another small detail that it’s nice to see is Jimmy Hanley’s belt: It was a fashion during World War 2 for soldiers to collect badges and fix them to their belts. Here Hanley shows off his collection:
And here’s Hitler’s image on a punchbag …
… was there ever another politician whose image was so recognisable and could be quite so easily caricatured?
And, of course, Irene Handl appears as the Dodd family's maid: