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"It's love I'm After," the current attraction at the Metropolitan, turns out to be one of the maddest and most riotous farces of the season. It moves along at a terrific pace and permits the audience no rests between laughs.
Leslie Howard appears as an attractive and egotistical matinee idol. One may suspect that Mr. Howard was considerably amused by his role, which obviously is a burlesque of himself. He handles this difficult assignment with discretion, plays around good-naturedly with Shakespeare, and slyly recalls his own ill-fated venture with "Hamlet." Bette Davis plays Mr. Howard's occasional fiancee, and when she is not engaged in throwing furniture at him, she is crying her eyes out over his latest amour. The amour in this case is Olivia De Havilland who uncovers a flare for comedy and a winsome appeal that she has not displayed previously. Eric Blore, as Mr. Howard's butler and critic, succeeds in stealing most of the scenes in which he appears. The supporting cast is adequate but unexceptional.
The crux of the story is Mr. Howard's attempt to reform himself and tread the primrose path with Miss Davis. He starts his reformation by walking out on her their wedding night. His idea is to show his new strength of character by purposely disillusioning the romantically inclined Miss De Havilland. In the course of the proceedings, Mr. Howard successively insults her family, makes biting remarks about her moles, acts as a drunkard, but all to no avail. Miss De Havilland is exceedingly difficult to disillusion.
Finally, in desparation, he slips into her room by way of the window, locks all the doors, and attempts to scare the sweet young thing. However, Miss De Havilland is not as innocent as she appears, and indeed, finds herself quite pleased at the prospect. Mr. Howard finally gives up his reformation, succumbs to her attractions, and is engaged in kissing her just as Miss Davis enters. More or less disturbed, she plots a horrible plight for her straying fiancee, but finally yields to better instincts and Hollywood custom.
As usual, the stage show has its ups and downs. Frank Parker sings pleasantly enough, but finds himself hampered by the refusal of the amplifying system to register his high notes. Sue Ryan in a droll burlesque of a night-club show also comes out the worse for her fight with the amplifier. Shaw and Lee supply some inane pantomime which a matinee audience seemed to appreciate. The chief punch of the show is provided by the Kimris an amazing acrobatic team who perform their stunts while circling high above the stage in a miniature airplane.
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