I have a sophisticated theory about why the Irene Dunne vehicle Together Again (1944) is never on any best-of, favorites, or romantic comedy lists despite the many joys of viewing it: the title sucks.
And when I say it sucks, I mean it’s the WORST TITLE I CAN IMAGINE. It’s so forgettable that every time I think of it, I have to look up Dunne’s IMDB site to find it. I cannot for the life of me remember it at all. And I’m a fan of the film! What does that say?
The title isn’t mysterious, as in The Natural, an aptly named, but box-office-ignorant choice. It’s not annoying, as in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. It’s just so impossibly blah and vague. Together Again. As in a remarriage? As in partners who re-team? As in peanut butter and jelly? WHAT does it mean? I’ve seen the film and any possible answer to that question is not a good one.
Of course, if I’d had my druthers, I would have named it this way: Charles Coburn, Matchmaker. Because any classic movie fan familiar with his work would run to see it then. But as I don’t have naming rights, I can just tell you this: Ignore the title; watch the film.
Why? I’ve posted a longwinded tribute to it, with comparisons to Veep, should you have time to kill. But here, I’ll give you the brief but essential rundown of why so many of you will love it:
- It’s Such a Feminist Flick. A female mayor, people. Who rips on men who belittle her. Who makes fun of romance, and yet (despite herself) is itching for it after her husband’s death. Her father-in-law (Coburn) keeps trying to sway her to take things easier, to find a new man and stop worshipping his son. Hooked yet?
- Irene Dunne. Oh she’s great. That odd, fluttery voice dishes out sarcasm with verve. Her on-point timing and ease of movement make her mesmerizing to hear and watch.
- The Romance. I’m not a big fan of Charles Boyer’s, but the two actors have chemistry together. And I’ve always been a fan of the straightlaced gal and bohemian/relaxed guy meet-cute, probably because I was such a nerd as a kid.Unnecessary Aside and Spoiler of Other Films: I prefer Boyer’s & Dunne’s Love Affair (1939) to the more beloved An Affair to Remember (1957) remake, partially because Boyer & Dunne are more in sync and believable as a couple than Kerr and Grant, despite the latter’s extreme charm in his film. But mainly because Deborah Kerr seems such an inert actress to me, making the tragedy that befalls her less moving than that of the highly energetic Dunne. I mean, ask yourself: Which actress can you imagine in a gym? I rest my case. (The fact that I’m more like Kerr, gym-devotion wise, doesn’t alter my point narratively speaking.)
- Coburn-Dunne Magic. I love these two together. You could ditch the romance and just enjoy Dunne & Coburn sparring, and never miss a thing. These two are so witty, have such a great rhythm together. And his expression when he rips on her for a frivolous hat purchase is so good I’m going to have to post it again (I believe this is post 3):
Alas, the only reason I discovered this film at all is because it was paired with the more famous Theodora Goes Wild in a Netflix two-set; to my surprise, I was disappointed with the comparatively famous madcap film, and fell hard for Together Again. If only the smart folks who’d named the former had taken a crack at the latter.
This post is part of the Classic Movie Blog Association’s blogathon on Underseen and Underrated films. If you haven’t checked out the other entries yet, go see them now!