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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Louisa (1950)



Reviews and Comments


A highly charismatic ensemble cast makes this otherwise minor screwball comedy into a surprisingly funny and endearing feature. Ronald Reagan, frustrated and indignant through most of the film, is a blast as the father of a household whose mother, Louisa, is thinking of remarrying. She is played by Spring Byington, whom we can't help but like in spite of the initial scenes where she's crotchety and tyrannical. She has two suitors -- the amiable, gentlemanly Edmund Gwenn and the stately, distinguished Charles Coburn, both of whom are hilarious in their respective trademark manners. But Ruth Hussey and a young Piper Laurie, as Reagan's wife and daughter, are given the short end of the stick by a script that needs their characters to temper the more fiery ones but doesn't permit them to be fully-fledged, interesting individuals. (Hussey has little more to do than be supportive of everyone else, while Laurie is relegated to scoffing at their antics.)

While Louisa is not what one would call a great film, it's creative and funny, and the fascinating interplay among its cast quickly won me over. The stars create some sparkling moments, and it's a shame there aren't more Reagan/Byington/Gwenn/Coburn/Laurie/Hussey films to go around.