Don't Bother

Tender Comrade (1943)

Don't tell anyone we're communists.
Patricia Collinge, Kim Hunter and Ginger Rogers are - get this - welders at the munitions factory.

We’re going to be brutally honest.

The only time you should ever go near this movie is if you’re forced to do a paper on The Life Of American Women During World War II or an essay on American WWII Propaganda Films.

Or, if you’re trapped under something heavy and can’t reach the remote.

This movie is so bad it’s almost painful to watch. What’s worse, there are wonderful actors like Ginger Rogers, Ruth Hussey, Robert Ryan and Patricia Collinge who are desperately trying to make the script work.

But it just doesn’t.

Tender Comrade was written by Dalton Trumbo who was famously blacklisted in Hollywood during the McCarthy anti-communist era. We do not specialize in history (film or otherwise) but we wonder if this movie contributed to his downfall? After all, this is a film about a group of female factory workers who – gasp! – share resources and live communally. Plus! The title has the word “Comrade” in it!!

We can see you’re skeptical. You still think there’s value in this movie. We tell you there is not! Listen: Ginger Rogers goes ballistic on her roommate for hoarding lipstick; the cook goes ballistic on the butcher for giving her an extra pound of bacon; and the whole cast goes ballistic on married Ruth Hussey for making a date with the creepy lunch wagon guy. (Okay, that last one is completely justified.)

If that weren’t dreadful enough, there are too many sanctimonious speeches. This whole movie is made up of speeches, speeches, speeches! Enough already! Make it stop!

All right, go ahead and watch it, if you must. But don’t complain to us, not even during the utterly unreasonable over-the-top ending. You’ll get no sympathy here.

Starring Ginger Rogers, Ruth Hussey and Robert Ryan. Written by Dalton Trumbo. Directed by Edward Dmytryk. RKO Radio Pictures, 1943, 102 agonizing mins.

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