A Lady Takes a Chance is probably the best American romantic comedy of the '40s that hardly anyone knew about--at least, in the last three or four decades of the 20th century. That's chiefly because, as a semi-independent ... more »production mounted for Jean Arthur by her husband, Frank Ross, the movie couldn't claim a place in any studio archive (It's a Wonderful Life was long neglected for similar reasons). So this lovely gem is ripe for rediscovery, not only for Arthur at her most enchantingly distracted, as a New York gal on a bus tour of the modern Wild West, but also for John Wayne's sly sexiness as the rodeo rider who literally falls into her lap. James Agee, no less, approvingly noted that "Wayne suggests how sensational he might be in a sufficiently evil story about a Reno gigolo." Lady isn't evil, but it's surely a delight. --Richard T. Jameson« less
"Jean Arthur sparkles in this wartime comedy, as Molly Truesdale, a sweet, pretty salesgirl overwhelmed by 3 overzealous suitors! To get some peace and quiet, she takes a bus tour out west, a trip that sounded romantic in the travel brochures, but grows tedious, after monotonous days pass, and she has to fend off passes by the tour guide (Phil Silvers, in one of his many terrific comic relief roles of the '40s)!Truesdale finally decides to combat her 'cabin fever' on the bus by attending a rodeo. She has a wonderful time, until one of the contestants literally falls into her lap! As the two disentangle themselves, she gets a good look at Duke Hudkins (John Wayne), and it's love at first sight!Duke is the suitor she'd always dreamed of; handsome, virile, and 'all-man', and she begins a pursuit of the cowboy that is both uncharacteristic for her, and confusing for him! Despite warnings from his best friend, Waco (Charles Winninger) that this girl was after more than just a night of partying and passion, Duke invites Molly out, and the innocent city girl experiences her first evening of carousing! When, at evening's end, she puts the brakes on his amorous advances, he discovers she's not just another 'groupie', and that he's falling in love with her, too...nearly as much as he loves his horse!A romantic comedy of 'opposites' finding true love, 'A Lady Takes a Chance' benefits from the delightful performances of the two leads! Jean Arthur had a Meg Ryan-like quality of projecting both innocence and sexiness, and she makes Molly's transition from 'pursued' to 'pursuer' both believable, and understandable! John Wayne is equally good, sexy and easy-going, yet conveying Duke's confusion at the feelings he has for Molly, and his gradual realization that he'll have to 'take a chance', himself, to earn her love!True, the tale follows your basic 'boy meets girl-boy loses girl-boy gets girl' scenario, but under the sure direction of pros William A. Seiter (who directed Astaire and Rogers in 'Roberta', and Shirley Temple, in 'Stowaway'), and Henry Hathaway (the legendary filmmaker who would direct Wayne's Oscar-winning performance in 'True Grit', 26 years later), the story has a freshness and charm that is unbeatable!Whether you're a Wayne and Arthur fan, or you just love a romantic comedy with a happy ending, 'A Lady Takes a Chance' will bring a smile!"
Good Romantic Comedy; Terrible DVD
Kardius | USA | 11/18/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is far from Jean Arthur's classic comedies of the late 1930s and the early 40s, but she's as charming as ever. John Wayne is also surprisingly good as the romantic leading man, but the film is a showcase for Jean Arthur's talents from beginning to end (it was produced by her husband).
The DVD, however, is terrible. Its watchable, but you feel like you're watching the film on 1980s VHS, late night TV or one of those cheap public domain DVDs. The image is very soft, there are visible scratches and the sound is very bad. Still, I doubt that Criterion will ever pick a film like this one, so if you like 1940s romantic comedies, and Jean Arthur in particular, you should "take a chance" on this one."
John Wayne and Jear Arthur sizzle onscreen
Joe Sixpack -- Slipcue.com | ...in Middle America | 05/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"An unusual wartime comedy-romance, starring the ever-delectable Jean Arthur as a big-city girl who takes a bus tour out West to see some of the world, and gets a real eyeful when she hooks up with John Wayne, a lanky, laconic cowboy who's rambling around on the rodeo circuit. The script is fairly minimal, and many scenes even seem improvised, but what's remarkable is the underlying sexual frankness of the film -- the two meet by accident, and are inexorably drawn together by sheer sexual chemistry. When they finally give in and go out on a real date, they have nothing to say to each other -- the attraction is purely physical. Certain scenes, such as when he invites her up to his hotel room, offers her a drink, and bed to bunk in, are surprisingly raw, at least for the time. Arthur and Wayne also seem to have chemistry together -- in fact, this is the only film in which I've seen him play opposite a gal when the sizzle seemed real... It's a funny film with an offbeat sense of humor, one that's worth seeing particularly if your a fan of Jean Arthur's work... She's about as cute as ever in this one!"
Classic Boy-Meets Girl With a Twist.
tvtv3 | Sorento, IL United States | 02/04/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A LADY TAKES A CHANCE stars Jean Arthur as Molly Truesdale, a young and hip Eastern American woman tired of all her suitors. To escape from them for a spell, she takes a bus-tour west to see America. While out west she literally bumps into Duke Hudkins (John Wayne) at a rodeo. They end up spending the rest of the day together and most of the evening and Molly ends up missing her bus. Duke takes her to the city where she can catch it for the ride home.Though this is a pretty typical boy-meets-girl movie, there are a lot of elequant touches that make it stand out above the rest. Besides, it's enjoyable watching the Duke play a role so different from the ones he was to become famous for. Jean Arthur is just adorable and makes a grand lady that is at first pursued, but then becomes the pursuer. As a bonus, Phil Silvers has a small role as the bus tour guide. Not only will Wayne fans and oldies fans like this movie, but it makes for a great date picture."
A Lady Takes a Chance
JP | 02/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've watched this movie at least a dozen times. Fine romance! My gosh he was a sexy young man! GREAT chemistry between him and Jean Arthur. Thoroughly enjoyable!"