© 1942 RKO Radio Pictures

Once Upon a Honeymoon (1942)

Director: Leo McCarey
Starring: Cary Grant
Ginger Rogers
Walter Slezak
Albert Dekker
Cinematographer: George Barnes
Costume design: Miss Leslie
Year: 1942

This is an entertaining, but rather odd film. Released in 1942, the same year as Casablanca, this is also the story of a woman torn between two men, with the love triangle set against the backdrop of the concentration camps of World War II. But unlike Casablanca, this Leo McCarey-directed film is full of light comedic touches that seem at odds with the more serious moments.

The story starts with Katherine Butt-Smith (Ginger Rogers) a Philadelphia socialite who is set to marry a Austrian baron (Walter Slezak). Patrick O’Toole (Cary Grant), a member of the American embassy phones to ask to meet Miss Butt-Smith to make sure everything about her planned wedding is legal. Things soon take a turn both toward the comedic and the dramatic as Butt-Smith turns out to be a former burlesque star from Brooklyn whose real name is Katie O’Hara, O’Toole is revealed to be a newspaper man trying to get a scoop, and the baron is suspected to be one of Hitler’s top advisers. O’Hara trades papers with a Jewish hotel maid so she can get her kids out of Europe, and Ginger Rogers and Cary Grant wind up in a concentration camp and other dramatic detours that allow criticisms of Hitler in what is basically a romantic comedy typical of the time.

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