Over the Moon (1939)

Jane Benson (Merle Oberon) leads a simple life. She lives in Yorkshire, where she serves as caretaker for her elderly uncle.

While her life isn’t exactly exciting, she’s kind of stuck with it. Her grandpa’s will dictates that she isn’t allowed to sell the old family home. So long as she lives there and keeps it up, she’ll earn a small monthly stipend, meaning she won’t have to worry about providing for herself.

(Image via tmdb.org)
(Image via tmdb.org)

Jane has, for the most part, accepted her fate. But one thing she does wish for is a bit of romance. She’s taken a liking to Dr. Freddie Jarvis (Rex Harrison), the local physician.

Even if she woos Freddie and marries him, chances are, Jane will continue to live a quiet life in Yorkshire. But that’s all turned upside down when she finds out that she has inherited a fortune of 18,000,000 pounds!

1939’s Over the Moon was directed by Thornton Freeland and shot in Technicolor.

Merle Oberson is incredibly likable and was a great choice to lead this film. She’s got a captivating screen presence and it’s fun to watch her character’s life change from incredibly sheltered to full of excitement and romance.

Technicolor was also a good choice for the film, playing up the extravagance of the fashions and sets that come along with Jane’s new riches and new friends. For example, in the scene where she reveals she’s purchased a clinic, she’s wearing a white dress with colored ribbons. While beautiful, the dress wouldn’t be quite as striking without those pops of color.

Over the Moon is part romance, part comedy, part coming-of-age tale (as Jane finally experiences freedom and can live her life the way she wants to), and part exploration of wealth and social class. An odd mix, but it works, for the most part. The mood never gets too serious.

Quite light in both plot and tone, Over the Moon is a fun little watch. I would recommend it for fans of Merle Oberon in particular, but anyone who likes classic British comedy will get some enjoyment out of it. The score: 3.5/5

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3 thoughts on “Over the Moon (1939)

  1. This one sounds like one of those neat little late-night finds on TCM that I’d watch over the Christmas holidays. And I absolutely love that poster…it looks more like an art deco style of the 1950s than the 1930s!

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