“We’re nothing! We’re a bunch of grabbers, all of us, looking for the best of it!”
When a destitute apple vendor (Bette Davis) learns her grown daughter (Ann-Margret) will be arriving from Spain with her noble fiance (Peter Mann) and his father (Arthur O’Connell), she enlists the help of a superstitious gangster (Glenn Ford) and his warm-hearted fiance (Hope Lange) in putting on an elaborate charade, including finding a man (Thomas Mitchell) to pose as Davis’s husband.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Alcoholism and Drug Addiction
- Ann-Margret Films
- Bette Davis Films
- David Brian Films
- Frank Capra Films
- Glenn Ford Films
- Hope Lange Films
- Mistaken or Hidden Identities
- Peter Falk Films
- Thomas Mitchell Films
Frank Capra remade his own Depression-era classic — Lady for a Day (1933) — into this Technicolor star vehicle that really… didn’t need to be made. Everything about his earlier version is superior, from the appropriately atmospheric b&w cinematography, to Robson’s genuinely touching lead performance, to its faster-paced running time (96 minutes in comparison with Pocketful…‘s dragging 136 minutes). Ford, Davis, and Lange try their best here, but Ford and Lange’s ongoing quibbling distracts from the central storyline, and Lange’s character undergoes far too rapid of a transformation for us to believe in. The material ultimately comes across as maudlin, with Apple Annie’s love of classical music a distraction rather than a pleasing backdrop. This film is primarily notable for offering Peter Falk a stand-out supporting role as Ford’s sidekick “Joy Boy”, and for introducing a giddy Ann-Margret to the big screen.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Peter Falk as Joy Boy
Nope; you can skip this one, unless you’re a Bette Davis completist.