Marry the Bo$$'$ Daughter (1941) is a mild little romantic comedy, a throwaway B-movie from 20th Century-Fox. It's pleasant but unremarkable, leaving one wondering just why Fox Cinema Archives opted to release it. I'm always glad to see obscurities like this released myself, but there's nothing at all special about it and, given its high SRP and the fact that it runs just under an hour (clocking in at 59:58), probably pairing it with at least one other B of its type would have been more appetizing.
The good new is that the video transfer is fine. (The quality of Fox Cinema Archives title varies widely, from gorgeous to appallingly bad.) No extras.
Set in New York City, the story follows an ambitious young accountant, Kansas-bred Jefferson Cole (Bruce Edwards), and his search for a job in the Big City. One evening a white-haired terrier takes a shine to Jeff, who soon realizes that the pooch belongs to millionaire J.W. Barrett (George Barber), who mainly for his daughter offers a big reward for "Nicholas's" (Jee Bee) return. At the Barrett estate Jeff meets J.W.'s beautiful daughter, Fredricka (Brenda Joyce). After some initial misunderstandings between Jeff and Fredricka (and this movie packs a lot of misunderstanding into its running time), she realizes that his self-made-man attitudes toward big business are in synch with J.W.'s, as opposed to those of her current suitor and J.W.'s right-hand man, mildly snobbish Putnam "Puddy-Wuddy" Palmer (Hardie Albright).
Fredricka talks her father into giving Jeff a job at her father's company, in the bill-checking department. But the company runs so well already there hasn't been a clerical error in nearly three years. Efficiency-obsessed Jeff, bored by this, prepares a report urging the company to eliminate this department in the name of cost-consciousness. All of Jeff's co-workers, some with the company for three decades, lose their jobs and Fredricka now thinks Jeff is a heel. Feeling pretty lousy himself, Jeff takes desperate steps so that his co-workers can get their old jobs back, even if that means losing his own as well as putting the kibosh on his blossoming romance with Fredricka.
Marry the Bo$$'$ Daughter (titled that way onscreen, but as Marry the Boss's Daughter on the posters) is pretty mild stuff. Vaguely similar to but nowhere nearly as inspired as Preston Sturges's comedies about determined but poor young men looking for success (Christmas in July, The Palm Beach Story) and finding golden opportunities in unexpected places, the film never quite goes that extra step into inspired lunacy the way Sturges's (and Wilder's, and Hawks's, etc.) do.
Part of the problem is that an accountant excitedly pouring over balance sheets looking for discrepancies is neither cinematic nor very interesting, though the film tries hard to generate some enthusiasm for this. Bruce Edwards, a minor actor heretofore playing uncredited bits in Fox films, his only other part of any consequence was the third lead in Small Town Deb, a Jane Withers movie, is pretty good as Jeff. Visually similar to a young Robert Walker, Edwards's character is quite likeable in the first half of the picture, but his single-mindedness becomes quite annoying in the second half. His determination isn't self-serving but destructive nonetheless, and his lack of tact more than once gets him into unnecessary trouble. Fox was probably trying Edwards out for bigger and better things, but at the time of the film's release on November 28, 1941, there was a glut of similar leading man types. Ironically, had the film been released a month later, after Pearl Harbor, with so many established stars signing up for war effort, things might have been different.
Top-billed Brenda Joyce, quite sexy here, was briefly a rising star at Fox, but supposedly angered the studio over a sudden marriage in 1940 which resulted in her being punished with B-movie roles like this one. Her career recovered somewhat when, in 1945, she took over from Maureen O'Sullivan the role of Jane in the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan film series, a role in which she excelled. Unlike Weissmuller, Joyce did other film work in-between jungle romps but retired in 1949.
Video & Audio
No complaints. The black-and-white, 1.37:1 video transfer of Marry the BO$$'$ Daughter is quite good, sharp and bright. The mono audio, with no accompanying English or other subtitles, is also fine. No Extra Features.
No bad but nothing special, ether, Marry the BO$$'$ Daughter is pleasant enough, but really only worth a Rent It.
Stuart Galbraith IV is the Kyoto-based film historian and publisher-editor of World Cinema Paradise. His credits include film history books, DVD and Blu-ray audio commentaries and special features.