Three Guys Named Mike (1951)

*WARNING: This review contains some mild spoilers, but I’ve tried to avoid them as much as possible, and I’ve left the ending up to you to find out when you watch!

A promotional still of Marcy (Jane Wyman) and one of her fellow AA stewardesses. (Image via simsajoyeros.com)

Three Guys Named Mike is an early ’50s romantic comedy. The story follows Marcy Lewis (Jane Wyman), a young woman who moves from small town Indiana to the big city of Chicago to become an American Airlines stewardess.

An American Airlines advertisement featuring two of the film's stars, Jane Wyman and Van Johnson. (Image via vintageadbrowser.com)

After being hired, Marcy is assigned to be based Cleveland. On the flight to her new home city, Marcy meets the first of three Mikes: Mike Jamison, her pilot (Howard Keel). Later in her travels, Marcy meets a graduate student, Mike Lawrence (Van Johnson) and an ad executive, Mike Tracy (Barry Sullivan).

She falls for all three of the Mikes for different reasons, and all of them fall for her. But when the men find out about each other, Marcy must decide which of them is most worthy of her affection, if any.

Marcy is a very pleasant character. She’s young, excited and passionate, though somewhat disaster prone. She loves her new job, but always seems to do something that throws a minor hitch in the flight, often landing herself in trouble with the airline’s superiors.

Wyman gives a fantastic performance in the role, building all of the proper emotions for what she’s experiencing, especially the anxiety that comes with starting a new career. Wyman is easily able to build sympathy for her character as each little thing goes wrong, and the film does a great job of endearing the viewer to her character, making it believable that so many men want her attention.

The film isn’t perfect, though. The plot is more than a little bit slow-moving. It takes Marcy nearly an hour just to meet the three Mikes, and the film only clocks in at an hour and a half. This leaves a mere thirty minutes for the real drama and conflict of Marcy’s situation to take place.

Keel, Johnson and Sullivan all give very believable performances, like Wyman, but there is a problem with their characters that also brings the film down a bit. No single man sticks out above the rest as particularly worthy of Marcy’s attention. It doesn’t seem like she should really end up with any of them.

Marcy and her Three Guys Named Mike: Mike Tracy, Mike Jamison and Mike Lawrence (Image via ericdatz.com)

Each man has his own set of strong points and suspicious qualities. The first Mike that she meets is Mike Jamison, the pilot. Jamison seems to genuinely grow to like Marcy, but the fact that he was so rude to her when they first met does him no favors with the audience.

The second Mike, Lawrence, is smart and sweet, but seems a bit too eager to please. He even decorates Marcy’s new house at one point, when she gets called out to a flight at the last minute.

Mike Tracy is suave, good-looking and willing to help Marcy create a new career for herself, but he seems like somewhat of a womanizer.

None of them really have the “total package” that the viewer wants Marcy to find, since she is such an endearing character. However, she does inevitably and up with one of them, and surprisingly the ending is quite a pleasing one for the audience, despite the fact that each man has his character flaws.

Three Guys Named Mike is a charming, albeit slow-moving, black and white romantic comedy, worth watching at the very least for Jane Wyman’s lovely performance and great screen presence.
The score: 3.5/5

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