Bachelor Knight (otherwise known as The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer) is the story of young Susan (played by the late Shirley Temple when she was 17) who falls for a visiting art lecturer and grows quite besotted with him. He is told to date her so her infatuation with him will wear off. Susan has an older sister, Margaret, who is a lawyer and doesn’t need a man. Or does she?
Shirley Temple will always be remembered as the child star with the cutesy looks and the dimples. Here, you can clearly tell that her past career before this lay with being a cutesy moppet. And while she still retained some of it here, the whole feeling just screams ‘LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME AND NOBODY ELSE!’ I haven’t seen any of the movies from the end of her career, but its as if every Shirley Temple film character was written to act as childishly as possible.
And while Susan is flirting with the older artist, her school sweetheart, Jerry, has been friendzoned (I don’t think that word existed back then, but still…). The scenes between Susan and Richard Nugent, the art lecturer (played by Cary Grant) are just awkward. It seems this whole movie was built on shifting sand.
I think comedy in the 1940s depended a lot on physical comedy; the comedy of physicality and situations. And maybe the social mores are lost to us now so it ceases to be funny. It was as if Susan’s sister, Margaret, was being punished for being the resilient career woman by falling for Nugent in the end. The verbal battle they have before reuniting was amusing, though. Ultimately the resoloution was weak and the plotline contrived. And the dinner scene was a situation in which we all find ourselves in at some point or other, I’m sure.
MY RATING: ** / *****