If You Could Only Cook (1935) - Rotten Tomatoes

If You Could Only Cook (1935)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Jim Buchanan (Herbert Marshall) is a wealthy, highly successful automobile company president, who is about to enter into a marriage-of-convenience with a socially-connected young woman (Frieda Inescort). When his board of directors votes down a new, revolutionary line of cars that he wants to adopt, Jim walks out on his company and his social obligations to re-think his future. He meets Joan Hawthorne (Jean Arthur), an unemployed and homeless young woman, in the park; she doesn't recognize him, and mistakes his uncertainty for desperation similar to her own. Joan persuades him to pose as her husband so can apply as the cook and butler in the home of Mike Rossini (Leo Carrillo), who turns out to be a gangster laying low in the wake of Prohibition's end. Rossini loves Joan's cooking and tolerates Jim's butling; but his henchman Flash (Lionel Stander), who is suspicious of everyone, is puzzled by the fact that the couple don't seem to be living as husband and wife, and also by Jim's nocturnal wanderings back to his corporate offices. Still hiding his identity from Joan, he passes himself off as a frustrated engineer (which he is), and impresses her with his ideas and drawings. A case of mistaken identity and mis-directed good intentions briefly lands Joan in jail, while Jim keeps trying to sort out his attraction to her, versus the loveless marriage he's about to enter into. When all seems lost for Joan, Rossini -- who likes her and her cooking -- comes through with his boys, kidnapping Jim out of his own wedding to try to get the couple back together.


Jean Arthur
as Joan Hawthorne
Herbert Marshall
as Jim Buchanan
Leo Carrillo
as Mike Rossini
Alan Edwards
as Bob Reynolds
Frieda Inescort
as Evelyn Fletcher
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for If You Could Only Cook

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Audience Reviews for If You Could Only Cook

Sweet comedy with Herbert Marshall and Jean Arthur an unlikely but potent pair. It is light as air but a saucy souffle.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer


Delightful screwball comedy, surprisingly it is not very well known but it should be. Jean Arthur is wonderful, Herbert Marshall excels in an offbeat role for him. The supporting cast is excellent, especially Lionel Stander, but Leo Carillo is terrific as well, Funny, fast paced and very entertaining. Good screenplay, fine costume design. Light and fun.

James Higgins
James Higgins

I have been enjoying a round of viewing 2nd tier screwball comedies lately from the mid 30s. Its hard to evaluate them sometimes, as I simply enjoy the genre and the cast and inevitably look past the lesser aspects. I have noticed a pattern though which this film continues. At this point the writers/directors really just didn't know how to end them. This is another case of pulling out all stops at the end and going off the rails a bit. It doesn't make for a tight film, and it tends to simplify the characters further into caricatures. That said there is a certain charm to anything goes spirit that allows for the prospect that Herbert Marshall may actually be "rubbed out" by "well meaning" gangsters - it's different. All and all a cute and simple story that give short shrift to most of the ideas laid out.


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