Almost a Bride
A teenage girl who has a crush on an older, more sophisticated man tells all her friends that the man is her boyfriend. Soon that story starts making its way around the town.
Also known as A Kiss for Corliss, this romantic comedy from 1949 was the famous child-actor Shirley Temple’s last movie, and she’s a young adult in this one. Her character, Corliss, is 17 in this one and has been dating a young man named Dexter (Darryl Hickman), and they’ve even talked about marriage. But Dexter is slow to move forward so Corliss decides to invent a fake love interest in her diary. Enter Kenneth Marquis, played humorously by David Niven.
Marquis is in a divorce trial from his third marriage and Corliss’ father, Harry P. Archer (Tom Tully), is the attorney. He is determined to get Marquis’ wife as much of a financial settlement as possible. Corliss thinks he’s attractive and decides to invent a love affair with him in her diary to make Dexter jealous. She even writes that she knows she could make Kenneth happy! However, things soon backfire.
Corliss winds up spending a good part of a night hanging out with Dexter at a new restaurant/gambling den called the Penguin Club. Before this Dexter had bought another girl a coke which made Corliss upset. She and Dexter had argued and when she walked out of the room her dog growled at Dexter. “Oh, dry up!” Dexter bellowed at the dog and then the dog chased him out of the door in this brief, comedic moment. It’s after this that they make up (at least temporarily) and visit the Penguin Club, more out of curiosity than anything. But they get stuck in a room and Corliss doesn’t get back home till almost morning.
Corliss tells Dexter she is going to pretend she has amnesia and doesn’t know where she’s been so her parents won’t get upset with her. She indeed puts on an act of amnesia. She acts like a little girl again, saying she should be in her “jammies”! She says she wants her Betsy doll, which she had at age nine! She also gets a bubble bottle and blows bubbles! Corliss’ parents don’t know what to think.
Eventually a neighbor boy who had promised to bind Corliss’ diary brings it over and her parents read about this alleged “affair” with Kenneth Marquis. They are beside themselves. When Marquis learns of it, he decides to have fun with it. He comes over and says it’s all true and calls Corliss’ father “Daddy” which drives him almost mad! The man he just prosecuted in the divorce case is determined to have fun with Archer at his own expense. When Corliss is confronted with the diary she goes back and forth between denying it’s true concerning Marquis, to admitting it. Niven is quite humorous as he continues to say he’s devoted to Corliss and wants her to become wife number four. Marquis even bribes one of Corliss’ friends to say she has no memory of Corliss “making up” the story in the diary regarding her love for Marquis.
Even a visit to the doctor for Corliss’ “amnesia” doesn’t help, and at one point the frustrated and exasperated Archer funnily says, “I forgot to put the garage in the car!”
Things escalate to the point that a wedding rehearsal takes place in Archer’s home for Corliss and Marquis, until the truth finally comes out. We won’t spoil it about how it will all end, but it’s a humdinger!
The movie is fairly tame, but it was filmed a long time ago and Archer frequently calls his daughter Corliss a “fool” or a “romantic little fool” and there are various comments made toward characters such as calling a man an “Ass” instead of donkey; “idiot,” “You dirty, low-down, rotten Bluebeard,” and “Goon” and “Shut up.” Due to the complicated plot of a young woman attempting to deceive her parents, despite the humor, and the mild language, we are awarding the film our Dove seal for Ages 12+. It merits that because It does have its moments when characters step up to do or say the right thing, and it certainly has its humorous moments, especially when it comes to David Niven.
The Dove Take
Families with kids 12 and up will get a kick out of this movie which humorously shows what happens when stories are made up and lies are told.