You For Me (1952)

Film Review

YOU FOR ME

Release Date: 18 July 1952

Studio: MGM

Director: Don Weis

Stars: Peter Lawford, Jane Greer, Gig Young

Writer: William Robert, story and screenplay

Cinematographer: Paul C. Vogel

Synopsis

Tony Brown (Lawford), duck hunting, is accidentally wounded in the backside with buckshot. At the hospital he is insulted by a tired and irritable Nurse Katie McDermad (Greer). Since Tony supports the hospital financially, Katie is fired.

Dr. Jeff Chadwick (Young) suggests that Katie use her charms on the susceptible playboy, Tony. Katie is rehired, and Jeff wants her to work on Tony to ensure that he maintains his endowment that also supports Jeff’s research. Soon both Tony and Jeff are falling for Katie.

Tony wants to marry Katie but is not free to marry until his wife obtains her divorce. A jealous Jeff attempts to separate Katie from Tony. Angry, Katie accepts Tony’s proposal. He realizes that she loves Jeff and takes her to the train station to stop Jeff who is leaving to move to a new hospital. Katie and Tony board the train looking for Jeff. Katie sees Jeff standing on the platform and gets off the train leaving Tony on board. Tony, trapped on the moving train, flirts with a pretty passenger. As he tries to sit next to her, he sits on her knitting needles.

Discussion

This lightweight romantic comedy, intended as a companion feature on double bills, was filmed inexpensively in black and white. The plot uses an amusing gag, the condition of Lawford's wounded backside, as a continuing joke, opening and closing the film with accidents to his posterior. The Variety reviewer (Brog.) has some fun with the gag, writing that "Lawford is the butt of jokes as the playboy who gets it in the end". The joke, while unrefined, is never carried over into ribaldry, and the dialogue and Weis' direction avoid any possibility of offending the audience.

The Variety reviewer commends the film's "slick script, smart direction, and nifty trouping". Lawford and Young, experienced light comedians, play their parts effortlessly. Jane Greer, whose somber, world-weary beauty was an asset in a film noir, lacks liveliness and comes across as a cold nurse who does not enjoy nursing. She does not project a needed sense of the youthful pleasure and gratification she should be getting from the attentions of the two handsome men.

Jane Greer's career originated with a photo. She was one of three young women who modeled the new WAC (Women's Army Corps) uniform in 1943. Her photo was published in Life magazine and attracted the attention of two men, Rudy Vallee and Howard Hughes. After a worldwind courtship, she married the smitten Vallee in December, 1943. The marriage lasted only 6 months. Hughes signed her to a personal contract and arranged acting lessons. They were romantically involved for several years. Eventually, Greer bought out her contract.

Never a big star, Greer played mostly in melodrama, often in "bad girl" roles. She is a film noir icon due to her memorable role as Kathie, the femme fatale of Out of the Past (1947). In 1984, she came out of retirement to play the mother of the Kathie-like character in Against All Odds (1984), a loose remake of Out of the Past. The comic You For Me is an exception in a filmography that does not include many comedies.

Director Don Weis had a forty year career during which he directed 20 films and hundreds of episodes of television series. His films, mostly second rank comedies intended as companion features on double bills, include such amusing, lightweight entertainment as I Love Melvin (1953), A Slight Case of Larceny (1953), and Half a Hero (1953), starring accomplished comedians Donald O’Connor, Mickey Rooney, and Red Skelton, respectively. From the mid 1950s, Weis was prolific on TV, most notably directing over 50 episodes of Ironside (starring Raymond Burr) from 1967-1975 and 16 episodes of the highly acclaimed series M*A*S*H in the 1970s.

References

You For Me. by Brog. Variety Review. July 23, 1952

Don Weis. by Doug Galloway and Jonathan Wolf. Variety Obituary. August 7, 2000

Jane Greer. by Doug Galloway. Variety Obituary. August 27, 2001

Jane Greer, 76, Film Noir Star Who Returned to Do a Remake. by Richard Severo. New York Times. August 28, 2001