Frank Capra. The man’s a genius. It’s a Wonderful Life, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, You Can’t Take It with You, It Happened One Night–he just had a style that was all his own. A master of feel good movies.
Lady for a Day is no exception.
It’s one of his lesser known movies, certainly. (And by that, I mean that I’d never heard of it, and I watched it mainly because of who the director was. I see Frank Capra’s name, and I’m going to watch the movie.) The story of a apple seller who’s been pretending to be an upperclass socialite when she writes letters to her daughter, who’s living in Europe and dating a Duke’s son. Her daughter decides to surprise her by coming to America for a week, and the woman (Apple Annie) has to scramble to try and make her lifestyle temporarily match what she’d been describing.
The movie’s very well done. If you’re ever feeling cynical about the human race, just watch some Frank Capra, and all will be right with the world. (Maybe we need to force all politicians to sit down for a Capra Movie Fest in the next week or two. Might that make a difference?)
Does the movie have some holes? Yes. The plot isn’t much concerned with where Annie’s been, or where she’s going after the closing credits. All that matters is what happens in the present, and I couldn’t help but wonder what would become of her. The sound balance of the copy I saw on Netflix had some issues, too. At times, the characters could be hard to understand. But that’s quibbling, and a fault of the time the movie was made, not the movie itself.
The acting is fun. There’s a whole subplot of a group of gangsters who help Annie out, and it’s got such strong similarities to Guys and Dolls that I have to think they’re related, story-wise. (Capra remade the film as a Pocketful of Miracles, his last movie.) It was nominated for Best Actress, Director, Picture, and Writing. losing all of them to Cavalcade (which I have yet to see. Must get around to that.)
Three and a half stars for this one. You shouldn’t miss it.
And as a side note, anytime people complain to me that there’s nothing to watch on Netflix Instant, I just can’t relate. Between all the television series they have on there and the excellent back catalog, there’s always something great to watch. Sometimes it might take a bit of effort, and you need to poke around a bit to make sure you’re getting something good and not a dud, but that’s what their rating system is there for. It might not be the best place for brand new movies, but that’s not what it’s really trying to do. If you need a recommendation ever, just ask me. I’m happy to oblige. 🙂