Keeping Company (1940) Poster

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Father (and Mother) Know Best
German-54 September 2003
Mr and Mrs Thomas (Frank Morgan and Irene Rich) have three daughters. The youngest, Harriet (Virginia Weidler), is always getting into trouble, snooping around or trying to connive some pistachio ice cream. Her older sister, Evelyn (Gloria De Haven), seems to spend much time in the kitchen. The story focuses on the romance of the oldest girl, Mary (Ann Rutherford), with Ted Foster (John Shelton), who is an automobile salesman at a dealership owned by Mr Hellman (Gene Lockhart). Ted and Mary soon get married and confidently expect a life of undisturbed bliss, since they are so much in love that no quarrel could ever separate them. But when Ted has some quite innocent dealings with Anastasia Atherton, a pretty model, misunderstandings and complications ensue, which require the wise intervention of Mr and Mrs Thomas. A nice little old-fashioned family picture.
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Wholesome Entertainment In The 1940 MGM Manner --- Yuck!
Appalled19 April 2004
If you ever hankered for the endless sanctimonious pablum which fills the Andy Hardy films, but preferred that the all-American wit and wisdom to be delivered by an all-wise Frank Morgan (aka the Wizard) rather than an all-wise Judge Hardy, this is your movie. The subject matter -- newlyweds, a "streamlined redhead" who hankers after the hero, jealousy and misunderstandings, and a near business catastrophe -- could make for a pretty good movie, or even a pretty fun trash wallow. But we're in Lake Woebegone territory here -- where nobody except a very minor character is ever really bad, young people are prone to harmless mistakes and all the children are annoyingly above average (if a touch too obsessed about ice cream).

One note -- Frank Morgan shows a different side of his acting skill and is quite good. But other his other pictures of this period -- The Last Virginian, Wild Man of Borneo, show this off as well, and are just as perfectly wholesome, but far less icky about it.
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An enjoyable little domestic comedy
MartinHafer21 March 2016
The film begins in the Thomas household. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas (Frank Morgan and Irene Rich) have three daughters...Mary (Ann Rutherford), Evelyn (Gloria DeHaven) and Harriet (Virginia Weidler). Most of the film is about Mary and her relationship with Ted (John Shelton)--a young who she marries about midway through the picture. However, things are not perfect between Ted and Mary, as they are overly idealistic about how easy life will be...and when they end up having a misunderstanding it turns into a huge fight that might just destroy the marriage. In the midst of this is befuddled Mr. Thomas...who just wants everything to be quiet!

The acting is nice in this one and it's nice to see Morgan playing someone who is less stupid than his usual characters. The script is enjoyable and breezy but nothing extraordinary. All in all, worth seeing and fun.
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Studio contract players make the film
bkoganbing1 December 2015
Frank Morgan is a little less of a bumbler, but still as lovable as he usually is in this MGM family comedy where the studio got to use a lot of its B list players.

Keeping Company has Morgan and Irene Rich as the parents of three daughters, Ann Rutherford, Gloria DeHaven, and Virginia Weidler in descending order. Weidler is horning in on the little Miss Fixit roles that Deanna Durbin had a Universal. Only she doesn't sing.

Rutherford the oldest has a couple of car salesmen who work for Gene Lockhart panting hot and heavy after her. Rutherford chooses and marries John Shelton instead of Dan Dailey, but Shelton has the older and more experienced Virginia Grey looking to come between them.

Keeping Company is the studio system at its best. None of MGM's name contract players head the cast to guarantee box office. This one played at the bottom of double features. But the people I've listed in this film are what made a lot of MGM's features so popular and if the audience didn't know their names their faces were indelibly imprinted on their minds. When a Frank Morgan came on the scene you could almost guarantee what was to come and you eagerly expected it.

An enjoyable family comedy that holds up well today.
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Generic trouble-in-paradise
mark.waltz10 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Rising car salesman John Shelton is engaged to Frank Morgan's daughter (Ann Rutherford), and their marriage is preceded by hopeful promises of an ideal union. But no marriage is perfect, and in spite of good intentions, assumptions, trouble-making ex's and well-meaning interference by in-laws threaten to drive this couple apart. Innocent young adults become cynical and suspicious, fathers try to keep mothers from interfering, and good-intended bratty siblings (in this case, precocious Virginia Weidler) add in their own two cents, getting ice cream in return. Maybe this hits too close to home, because it comes off as rather ordinary in spite of trying to comically reveal how the attempts to be a perfect bride and groom ends up doing more harm than good.

This is aided by some fine supporting performances, particularly Gene Lockhart as Shelton's understanding boss, and stage veteran Irene Rich as the typical "Mrs. Hardy" MGM wife and mother. There's a reason why the Hardy family series focused on Andy rather than Cecilia Parker's Marion because Andy was unique (and perhaps too unreal), and Marion was simply too typical and bland. In this family, the Andy-like juvenile prankster played by Weidler provides the best moments, selling dad's favorite chair and ironically being the voice of reason in a family that MGM chief Louis B. Mayer desired to present to the world as the ideal all-American family that probably never existed.
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