Oil heiress Joan is going to elope with bandleader Allen whom she's known four days. Out-of-money pilot Steve is going to fly them to Nevada but makes a deal with her father to deliver her home unmarried. He flies off with... more » her, an apparent kidnaping, but is forced down in the desert. The bandleader arrives with a preacher, but their marriage (in California, not Nevada) is not valid. Pilot Steve will marry her because her father is a millionaire.« less
Bette Davis In A Delightfully Different Type of Role
Simon Davis | 07/29/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I always have a laugh at the cute title of this obscure little film that never features in the 'greats' lists of Hollywood legends Bette Davis and James Cagney. In the halcyon period from 1937 to 1946 it was rare indeed to see Bette Davis, the newly annointed Queen of Warner Brothers Studios, in anything but power house Academy Award nominated dramatic roles like 'Jezebel', and 'The Letter',which is why this film comes as a surprise when examining her illustrious film career. Thoughts on 'The Bride Came C.O.D', vary from it being Bette Davis' worst career mistake, right through to it providing her and Cagney with a refreshing change of pace for two established veterans. I've always had a great fondness for this effort and even though Davis in particular is not renowned as a comic actress it is wonderful to see her tackle something light hearted and wacky which was light years away from most of her other work in this period.
In their first teaming since 'Jimmy the Gent', both Davis and Cagney make a good attempt at delivering this type of screwball comedy normally associated with the likes of Cary Grant, and Claudette Colbert. Bette Davis plays temperamental oil heiress Joan Winfeild, and as the story begins she impulsively announces at a night club that she is going to fly to Las Vegas to wed Hollywood bandleader Allen Brice (Jack Carson), after only knowing him for four days. The resulting furore among the press over this headline grabbing story alerts Joan's father Lucius K. Winfeild (Eugene Pallette), to what is about to happen. Anxious to stop his impulsive daughter from making another mistake Lucius hires cocky charter pilot Steve Collins (James Cagney), to literally 'kidnap' the bride to be and return her to him unwed. The two strike a deal whereby Steve will be paid when he 'delivers', Joan at the rate of ten dollars for each pound she weighs air freight! As the soon to be wed couple attempt to leave for Las Vegas on Steve's plane, Steve with the assistance of his buddy Pewee (George Tobias), highjacks the plane and begins the trip to take Joan back to her father. A furious Joan attempts to jump off the plane using a defective parachute and in the struggle that follows she manages to make Steve crash land the the plane in the Californian desert. Joan gets her just deserts however when she rolls out of the plane and promptly lands in a cactus patch. The fiery relationship that has naturally developed between the two is not improved when Steve takes responsibility for removing the cactus spines from Joans very embarrassed backside! The next morning the pair find a ghost town not far off in the distance where they become acquainted with its sole resident, crusty old gold miner Pop Tolliver (Harry Davenport). Pop takes a liking to the pair and can see that underneath all the verbal fights and cutting remarks that a real love is growing between them. Meanwhile the press and Joan's father are all wanting to know what has happened to her and before long the press and the disgruntled fiance Allen Brice begin to descend on the desert region in a state wide search for the missing heiress. Finding her at the Ghost town Allen insists that they get married right there and both Steve and Pop pull every trick in the book to stop the wedding going ahead, from Pop pretending that they are actually in Nevada which makes the wedding illegal without the correct licence, to Steve trapping Joan in an old gold mine pretending they are sealed in . Joan of course begins to realise her impulsive mistake in agreeing to marry the loudmouth Allen and despite herself begins to fall in love with the brash Steve. All ends happily for the pair with the police put off the scent and Pop eventually playing host to the happy honeymooners in his ghost town hideaway.
Wild and wacky is the only way to describe 'The Bride Came C.O.D'. Even after repeated viewings it is still startling to see dramatic queen Bette Davis in such a different role as here. The sight of her being lent over Cagney's lap and having cactus spines removed from her behind is worlds away from her 'tragedy queen',triumphs during these years. I feel it gives her a delightful change of pace that suits her and rarely has she looked better on screen than here thanks to the excellent work by cinematographer Ernest Hallerthan. Her chemistry with James Cagney in his trademark cocky role is terrific and it's a pity the two didn't work together more often. Jack Carson's largely thankless role is really only present as a foil for Cagney's barbs however famed character actor Harry Davenport is a delight as the old timer with the heart of gold who is responsible for getting Steve and Joan together. Reliable Eugene Pallette while having a much smaller part delivers his usual reliable performance as the gravel voiced 'new rich', father to Davis' character. Director William Keighley does a masterful job keeping this fast paced scenerio moving and his direction of Bette Davis really reveals another whole side to this legendary star who could be breezy and wild given the right vehicle. The extensive use of location shooting in Death Valley gives 'The Bride Came C.O.D', a strong realistic look to it despite the terribly hot conditions encountered by cast and crew during the daytime filming in the desert.
Bette Davis of course will always be remembered as a dramatic actress first and foremost but I would advise any fan of her work to check out this little known film. It wouldn't win any great awards but that is no measure on how entertaining a film can be. Bette Davis herself was quoted as saying she and Cagney had great fun making it but that she felt it was a largely mediocre effort. Maybe, but modern audiences can still have fun seeing Warner Brothers greatest dramatic actress brought down to earth with a thud in 'The Bride Came C.O.D'. Enjoy"
My Favorite Bette Davis Movie!
Simon Davis | 09/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I also love The movie, The Bride Came COD and wish it was on DVD!It is about a Spoiled tempermental heiress who wants to marry some guy who her father hates and she runs off to marry him and she meets a no nonsense pilot who is planning on returning her to her father but they wind up getting stranded together and the sparks fly!Yes this movie is very silly but it's a good movie anyway and Bette Davis and James Cagney are excellent and I want this movie on DVD! I have seen other Bette Davis Movies and I thought they were great movies but thsis my favorite!"
LIGHTWEIGHT FLUFF WITH DAVIS AND CAGNEY
scotsladdie | 02/03/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"An amusing romp which is redeemed via the stars' terrific personalities; THE BRIDE CAME C.O.D. is notable mainly for a comedic change of pace for the usually tragic Bette Bernhardt. In this rough-house farce, Davis is tossed on her bottom in a cactus patch & de-spined by Jimmy! Bette's a Texas oil heiress trying to elope with bandleader Jack Carson. Cagney, a pilot, agrees to mess up her plans & deliver her to her father -unwed- at ten dollars a pound air freight! The two top stars indulge in crazy antics in this audience pleaser; Max Steiner's score is highly amusing."
If You're a Vintage Aircraft Enthusiast, This Film's for You
Mary Hoy | Renton, WA | 11/21/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The story was pleasant enough, good escapist fare, dated but cute. Well-written and fast paced. The number and types of vintage aircraft shown in the film was an unexpected delight. Also look for Paul Mantz in a cameo as one of the pilots."
ONE OF THOSE GEMS FROM THE 40'S
firstname.lastname@example.org | Sao Paulo, Brazil | 02/01/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The dialogues are very witty, intelligent and full of sarcasm, like this: "You two men should not fight. One is about to get married and the other is going to jail...you two have a lot in common!" Also there are some creatively directed scenes like the morphing of the toy plane with the real plane. Bette Davis' fans will love this film, as she appears very young and pretty, with long blond hair."