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  You Made Me Love You Temper TemperBuy this film here.
Year: 1933
Director: Monty Banks
Stars: Stanley Lupino, Thelma Todd, John Loder, Gerald Rawlinson, James Carew, Charles Mortimer, Hugh E. Wright, Charlotte Parry, Arthur Rigby, Syd Crossley, Monty Banks
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Songwriter Tom Daly (Stanley Lupino) is driving through London when he gets to a junction and sticks out his hand to indicate, but as he does so his fingers touch another hand, one belonging to rich heiress Pamela Berne (Thelma Todd). They share a meaningful look and then the lights change so they must be on their way, though not before Tom's grasping manages to remove Pamela's glove. She rushes off, but he is smitten, and determines to give her back the item of clothing, yet she has disappeared from view before he has the chance; however, it inspires him to pen a song about the situation, which he performs that evening on the radio. The tune goes down very well with the audience, from construction workers to Eskimos, but tracking Pamela proves difficult until a set of coincidences is put into play - alas Pamela is no shrinking violent, she's more shrieking and violent...

The Taming of the Shrew was the inspiration for You Made Me Love You (which didn't feature the celebrated song of the same name as part of the soundtrack), as Tom is driven to calming the angry lioness that is Pamela with what the filmmakers evidently hoped would be hilarious consequences. If it wasn't as funny as all that, and a certain sympathy for British screen comedy of the time was necessary to appreciate it, then it was fast-paced and effervescent, helped by the energetic Stanley Lupino, part of the Lupino acting family that included his more famous daughter Ida Lupino, and his chemistry with his co-star, the Ice Cream Blonde herself Thelma Todd. Of course, now all these decades have passed she was the main reason for any interest in this film, made when she crossed the Atlantic to capitalise on her popularity abroad, though that isn't why she is remembered.

Todd was found under mysterious circumstances, dead in her garage of supposed carbon monoxide poisoning, a couple of years after appearing here, at the age of twenty-nine, and for that reason rather than her performances she was one of the most celebrated actresses of the nineteen-thirties, even though she wasn't around for half of them. Was it suicide or murder? There were no shortage of suspects, from her abusive ex-husband to her married boyfriend to a bunch of shady gangster types who purportedly wanted to take over her Hollywood restaurant, but it has never been adequately cleared up precisely what happened to her, and from all accounts she wasn't depressed enough to end her life, as her career was coasting along perfectly fine. This is why she has attracted the attention she has, posthumously, and when those intrigued by her demise seek out her films they find a beautiful and talented comedienne who could hold her own against the biggest comedy stars of her day.

Whether Stanley Lupino was quite in the league of The Marx Brothers or Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy is questionable, but Todd certainly seemed to be enjoying the chance to play the shrew, eyes flashing, insults flying and scenery smashing - she has a bit near the finale where she demolishes an entire room which she launches into with great enthusiasm. The circumstances for this were complex, but really not worth worrying over, basically Tom wants to marry her, but her father (Hugh E. Wright), who he has mortally offended accidentally, wants her off his hands so when Tom shows up asking for her hand but not aware of her temper, he is welcomed with open arms; just not by Pamela who has to be tricked into the wedding by threatening her financial security. There then followed a series of events as the mismatched couple went on a honeymoon contrived to make her see the sense of behaving with more decorum, though considering what she has to put up with you begin to take her side after a while. It all ends happily, and Pamela finds her sense of humour and a new, pleasant temperament, as expected. If it wasn't Todd's best film, she was in fine form, and should provide some satisfaction to those wondering what she was like as an actress.

[The Network DVD in their British Film line has the trailer (illustrating what a nice print the film has in comparison) and an extensive gallery, with some candid and posed shots of Thelma Todd, as extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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