Always a Bride (1953)

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Victor Hemsley (Ronald Squire) and his daughter, Clare (Peggy Cummins), are con artists. Posing as a married couple, the pair travels to high-class hotels and resorts in the French Riviera.

While staying at each resort, they pull a stunt where Mr. Hemsley disappears, deserting his “wife” Clare and taking all of her savings with him. Feigning shock and dismay, Clare then uses the scenario to weasel a whole lot of money out of the wealthy guests who take pity on her.

Clare is tiring of this chaotic and dishonest lifestyle. She decides that she wants no more of it when she meets and falls in love with Terence Winch (Terence Morgan) during one of the cons. But she agrees to one last job with her father, and complications arise because Terence is an investigator for the British Treasury.

Ralph Smart directs this understated comedy, which he also co-wrote along with Peter Jones.

The premise of this film is a bit odd. A father-daughter con team in which the daughter gets involved with a Treasury worker, of all people, is not something that viewers come across very often, not to mention the fact that Clare and her father pose as husband and wife. Clare’s involvement with Terence, knowing full well that the consequences could be terrible for both herself and her father if they’re found out, is a surprising element of the story. It works very well in the film’s favor.

Unfortunately, nothing in this film, either performance-wise or plot-wise, blows the audience out of the water. It’s got the double-crosses that are typical of con comedies, a sweet but predictable budding romance, but not much to set it apart from other films. That’s not to say the film isn’t enjoyable – it definitely is! – but it’s nowhere near phenomenal.

The performances, though not award-worthy, are sincere enough. Peggy Cummins manages to endear the audience to her character despite the fact that she’s a criminal, and she also has very good chemistry with Terence. Seasoned actor Ronald Squire, who first appeared on screen in 1916, gives the best performance of the film and makes his character the most amusing of the bunch.

Always a Bride is no laugh-out-loud riot of a comedy. The humor is very subtle, the performances and action quite average. It’s an enjoyable and somewhat amusing way to spend about an hour and a half, but falls very short of the spectacular comedy that the premise had potential to become. The score: 2.5/5

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