The Critical Eye: It’s Love I’m After (1937)

It’s Love I’m After, dir. Archie Mayo
Starring Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Leslie Howard
Recommended | Highly Recommended | MUST-SEE

(Image via doctormacro.com)

(Image via doctormacro.com)

It’s Love I’m After instantly became one of my favorite films when I watched it for the first time four years ago. The film tells the story of an actor (Leslie Howard) who is in love with his leading lady (Bette Davis), but at the same time is pursued by an adoring super-fan (Olivia de Havilland), complicating his life.

Three big-name stars, a talented cast of supporting players, and a highly amusing script make for an enjoyable watch. The film also proves the comedic chops of several actors best-known for their more dramatic roles.

Did the critics of 1937 agree with my opinion that It’s Love I’m After is an absolute must-see?

Photoplay called the film “a new delight” for Davis and Howard, a screen team previously seen in the brilliant but far less lighthearted Of Human Bondage and The Petrified Forest. The mag named It’s Love I’m After one of the best pictures of the month when it was released, and also named both Howard and Davis among the best performances of the month, alongside hard-hitters like Barbara Stanwyck in Stella Dallas!

Screenland gave similarly high praise to the film, writing that Davis, Howard, and de Havilland “keep you amused even to laughing out loud” throughout this delightful film. “All three stars are grand, and excellently supported by Eric Blore, Patric Knowles, and others.”

From fan mags to trade mags, It’s Love I’m After seems to have been universally acknowledged as a very lovable film. Variety‘s review noted that the film “sparkles with witty lines,” while Davis “reveals a fine sense of comedy.” The one bit of criticism the publication had was for the “trite” title, but the film on the whole made up for that: “fresh, clever, excellently directed and produced, and acted by an ensemble that clicks from start to finish.”

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