Sunday, October 25, 2009


Bette Davis and Leslie Howard made three films together. Their first movie together was the critically acclaimed Of Human Bondage in 1934. They were again paired in another drama, The Petrified Forest, in 1936. Both movies showcased their abilities to play tragic characters. However, people often forget the pair starred together in a romantic comedy in 1937 entitled It’s Love I’m After. It has recently been released as part of the “Warner Brothers Archive Collection.” I think it’s a great chick flick worth exploring, so here’s a little summary to get your interest piqued.

The movie opens with Joyce Arden (Davis) and Basil Underwood (Howard) performing the final scene of Romeo and Juliet. It is very apparent that each actor is trying to upstage the other. In fact, Underwood’s valet (Eric Blore) and Arden’s maid (Veda Ann Borg) comment about their bad behavior as they watch backstage. The camera then goes to a balcony at the play where Marcia West (Olivia DeHavilland) is watching Basil with great admiration. After the play ends, Marcia visits Basil backstage to tell him how much she admires him. Basil enjoys the young woman’s attentions and this leads to a fight with costar and “on again/off again” fiancée Joyce. It seems Basil enjoys the “admiration” of young female fans. As a result, he and Joyce still have not married although they’ve been engaged numerous times.

In between arguing with Joyce, Basil has another visitor, Henry Grant (Patric Knowles). He is Marcia’s fiancée and requests a favor from Basil. Henry wants Basil to come to Marcia’s home where there is a house party going on. Henry wants Basil to behave so badly that Marcia will get over her crush on Basil. Since Basil wants to redeem himself with Joyce, he agrees. This is where the real fun begins.

Basil arrives at the West home. He makes a rude entrance but Marcia doesn’t care – after all it IS Basil Underwood. As the visit proceeds, Basil continues to be arrogant and unpleasant. He even makes a move on Marcia in her bedroom. However, Marcia likes his aggressiveness and breaks her engagement to Henry. Meanwhile, Basil is torn because Marcia is a very attractive young lady. Basil’s valet, Digges, decides things have gone too far and calls who else? Joyce!

Joyce arrives and the sparks fly. She and Basil just can’t get their timing right. She had planned to get him out of the mess by telling Marcia that they are already married. But, the love struck Marcia could care less. She will wait for them to divorce. Then, being the two egotistical people they are, Basil and Joyce revert to their old behaviors and start blaming each other for the chaotic situation. So where does it all end? Will the two couples reunite with their original partners or will Marcia convince Basil that they belong together? Watch for yourself – you’ll be glad you did!

I should also mention that there are some great supporting players here. Eric Blore is great as the loyal valet to Underwood. His ability to convey his exasperation with his boss is priceless. Spring Byington appears as DeHavilland’s aunt who also appears to have a crush on Basil at times. Last, but not least, catch Bonita Granville at her best. In this film, Granville plays an annoying teenager who loves to eavesdrop and share what she’s discovered with anyone who will listen. It’s Love I’m After may not be the best film in the filmography of Davis, Howard, or DeHavilland. However, it shows the versatility of this very talented trio who are often best remembered for their strong dramatic portrayals.


  1. I had not heard of this film. I don't always take to Bette Davis in movies, but I do find Leslie Howard very charming. It does seem like a movie I might like. Nice job on the article!

  2. Gilby, I have never seen this, but it sounds like lots of fun; I love a comedy of errors. Wonderful post!

  3. Gilby,
    I don't think I have heard of this wonderful chick flick movie. I would love to see Betty Davis in a romantic comedy.Your review makes me want to give it a try.

  4. Gilby, I have never seen this film or Bette Davis in a comedy. I am a big fan of romantic comedies and I plan to see this one. Great review!


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