Montana Moon (1930) Oldie Review

Director: Malcolm St. Clair

Writers: Sylvia Thalberg, Frank Butler, Joseph Farnham

Stars: Joan Crawford, Johnny Mack Brown, Dorothy Sebastian

RATING: 2.5 Stars

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While returning to Montana from a fling in New York, wealthy Joan Prescott leaves the train, intending to return to the big city. She runs into handsome cowboy Larry and gets engaged. On their wedding night she does a sultry dance with Jeff which ends with a prolonged kiss. Larry slugs Jeff. Angry Joan entrains for New York, but train robbers kidnap her. The leader of the pretend-bandits is Larry. – Fro IMDB

Apparently some tropes of Romantic Comedies haven’t changed in 90 years. The basic plot devices and conflicts are still exactly the same today as they were in 1930. Which is good for the casual viewer, as they have some familiar ground to stand on, but frustrating for everyone else that storylines for Romcoms really haven’t updated that much since 1930.

Both characters here are painfully stereotypical, but with the man coming off worse for a change than the flighty, flirtatious woman. Poor Larry, who clearly cannot keep his wits about him in the presence of any pretty girl who stumbles along, and who marries her at the drop of a hat. It was a nice change of pace that the ranch owner, and Loan’s father was an advocate for the marriage, and instrumental in fixing their problems, although the whole bandit/kidnap racket seemed like going a little too far. He couldn’t just get them to sit in a room and discuss things like adults?

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I did like the comedy aspect of the film though. There were some great comedic scenes. Anything with Froggy and Doc Bloom was pure gold. Especially hearing Froggy talk about the love he has for his horse, which on occasions began to sound a little unhealthy. The character growth that Joan goes through is great for her character, but does literally happen in the last few minutes of the film, and in the blink of an eye. But any character development for female characters in this era is a win, so I won’t frown about it too much.

Altogether not too bad. It won’t be one I remember in a few months, but for this weekend, when I am curled up feeling pretty rough, it was enough to bring a smile to my face and keep me entertained for 90 minutes or so.

This is a Public Domain film, and can be found easily online if you want to give it a try yourself.

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