Boy Meets Girl (1938) - Rotten Tomatoes

Boy Meets Girl (1938)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Once a staple of summer stock and community theatres, Bella and Samuel Spewack's Broadway farce +Boy Meets Girl dates rather badly when seen today. The 1938 movie version is also a bit mildewed, though it is saved by the dynamo-like energy of James Cagney and Pat O'Brien. The stars are cast as Robert Law and J.C. Benson, a pair of iconoclastic Hollywood screenwriters based upon Ben Hecht and Charlie McArthur. Cynically declaring that every film can be boiled down to "Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl", Law and Benson drive their studio-executive bosses crazy with their zany irreverence. Their pet target is bigwig C. Elliot Friday (Ralph Bellamy), a delicious take-off of 20th Century-Fox prexy Darryl F. Zanuck. Friday orders the boys to concoct a screenplay for cowboy star Larry Toms (Dick Foran), whose popularity is on the wane. Upon making the acquaintance of pregnant, unmaried waitress Susie (Marie Wilson), Law and Benson hit upon a brilliant scheme: they'll transform Susie's baby into a child star and team the kid with Toms in his latest epic ("based on an original story by William Shakespeare"). Complication piles upon complication, reaching a high point of hilarity when the baby gives Larry Toms the measles. Ronald Reagan appears briefly as a radio announcer covering the Hollywood premiere of Law and Bensen's newest masterpiece. Boy Meets Girl was originally conceived as a Marion Davies vehicle, with the comedy team of Olsen & Johnson playing the screenwriters, but things changed radically (and for the better) when Davies' sponsor William Randolph Hearst huffily pulled his Cosmopolitan Pictures unit off the Warner Bros. lot.

Cast

James Cagney
as Robert Law
Pat O'Brien
as J. Carlyle Benson
Ralph Bellamy
as E. Elliott Friday
Ronald Reagan
as Announcer
Dick Foran
as Larry Toms
Frank McHugh
as Rosetti
Bruce Lester
as Rodney Bevan
Dennis Moore
as Miss Cruz
James Stephenson
as Maj. Thompson
George Hickman
as Office boy
Cliff Saum
as Smitty
Carole Landis
as Commissary Cashier
Elliott C. Friday
as Ralph Bellamy
Curt Bois
as Dance Director
Hal K. Dawson
as Wardrobe attendant
Jim Nolan
as Young Man
Jan Holm
as Nurse
Peggy Moran
as New York Operator
Nanette Lafayette
as Paris operator
Janet Shaw
as Los Angeles Operator
Bert Howard
as Director
Bill Telaak
as Bruiser
Bruce Lister
as Rodney Bevan
Dennie Moore
as Miss Crews
James Nolan
as Young Man
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Boy Meets Girl

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (3)

The picture version of this comedy classic is a little more than adequate but not socko.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

Nearly all the lines which the script could least afford to spare have been dropped, presumably because of conflict with the delicately casuistical Hays code of morals.

March 25, 2006 | Full Review…
New York Times
Top Critic

A likable spoof of Hollywood (1938), with James Cagney and Pat O'Brien as fast-talking screenwriters, and Marie Wilson (the original dumb blond) around for pulchritudinous laughs.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The story behind this riotous film is almost as fascinating as the movie itself.

May 27, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
TV Guide

Good version of the play that should have been better.

August 21, 2003 | Rating: 4/5
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

It all descends into frantic farce very quickly, but the in-jokes come thick and fast and, by taking potshots at every available target, the film hits enough bullseyes to succeed.

May 24, 2003 | Full Review…
Film4

Audience Reviews for Boy Meets Girl

½

Silly story put over by energy of cast.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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