The Richest Girl in the World (1934)

Joel McCrea and Fay Wray are two of the main players in this funny, complicated love story (Image via acertaincinema.com)

Dorothy (Miriam Hopkins) is The Richest Girl in the World. With all of that money, it would seem that her life must be wonderful, completely free of worry. But when her fiance breaks off his engagement to her because he has fallen in love with someone else, Dorothy begins to question whether someone would like her if she didn’t have money.

So she hatches a plan. She and her married secretary, Sylvia (Fay Wray) decide to temporarily switch places, posing as one another. While under the identity of “Sylvia,” Dorothy meets a man that she truly falls for – Tony Travers (Joel McCrea). Eager to see if he’ll fall for her rather than the real Sylvia while they are assuming each other’s identities, Dorothy schemes her way through a budding relationship with Tony, all the while trying to convince him that the very rich “Dorothy” would accept a proposal from him?

Sound confusing? It isn’t, when you watch. Despite the mixing up of names, Dorothy and Sylvia are opposite in many ways. Dorothy is blonde, Sylvia is brunette; Dorothy is outspoken, Sylvia is somewhat shy. While watching, it isn’t difficult at all to grasp what’s going on, despite the somewhat complicated synopsis.

(Image via via-51.blogspot)

Directed by William Seiter and based on the story by Norman Krasna (who also penned the screenplay), this romantic comedy became RKO’s highest grossing film of 1934.

It’s easy to see why audience fell in love with this film. It’s short and sweet – a very cute and humorous romance. There are many laugh-out-loud moments that keep the audience drawn in. And the pace never dips in the least, remaining very upbeat and maintaining a fun mood.

The cast is very solid, with believable supporting actors, though they don’t come close to overshadowing the completely lovable leads of McCrea and Hopkins. As a pair, they’d probably make for a slightly dysfunctional marriage, but they’re completely lovable. The best performance comes from Hopkins, who is perfectly on pitch in her over-the-top, hilarious character. She’s a very sneaky lady, constantly scheming but obviously very much in love with the man she’s plotting against.

This isn’t a straight comedy. A few of the scenes do have a dramatic edge to them, which is a positive because it keeps the viewer guessing. The script is witty and quite well-written, but its one pitfall is that the film is so short. The ending is a bit sudden, and overall the film would have been better with a slightly lengthened running time and more development in the relationships between the characters. The score: 3.5/5

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