One Wild Oat (1951) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
26Jun/100

One Wild Oat (1951)

Danny no longer writes for Can't Stop the Movies, and can be reached at his fantastic site Pre-Code.com

Danny INDIFFERENTFor the next many many Sundays, I'm going to be working my way through the films of one of the most iconic movie stars of all time, Audrey Hepburn.

There have been books written about her warmth, her grace, and her image. These reviews will hopefully touch upon that, but I can't promise they'll be any more revealing; however, I will also try and work my way through several Hepburn biographies and report back as much as I can.

My own personal fascination doesn't entirely come from her acting, though I do adore some of her films like (um, spoiler alert) Charade, Roman Holiday, and Two for the Road. Rather I've been fascinated with Hepburn as the phenomenon. Only Marilyn Monroe seems to occupy a similarly vaulted place in Americana, and I don't think you could find two more contrasting cultural identities. One, chaste and regal, the other the live-for-the-moment sexpot. And while I'm sure working through Monroe's troubled film career could be interesting too, well, honestly, I've seen Bus Stop (1956) once, and I'm not going back.

But back to Hepburn. Born in 1929, she was born in Belgium but was the daughter of two Brits. They endured the second World War in Amsterdam, living under assumed names during the occupation. She did ballet during these years, and soon grew into a stage performer; shortly around the time she filmed her brief role in this movie, she was starring in a stage version of Gigi.

Her first few movies she's barely in, sometimes only appearing for a scene or two. That's the case here, and, while she still possesses her sweet smile, her presence doesn't really register.

One Wild Oat (1951) is based on  stage play; if this wasn't acknowledged in the opening credits, it's displayed pretty obviously in the acting presented. Robertson Hare (ironically bald) is a stuffy barrister in Her Majesty's Courts who finds himself with a madly mature daughter and, before you can say She's Out of Control in your best Tony Danza voice, the girl has found herself a man she wants to marry.

Of course it's not as easy as that since it turns out that the boy is well-known for being every girl's favorite carousel ride, and his father is a notorious gambler that Hare has prosecuted on occasion and now is under investigation for a rather "it's generous just to say" shady greyhound racing scheme.

The boy's father is played by Stanley Holloway, a big mugging man who wants the kids to be happy and works to undermine Hare's undermining. Together Hare and Holloway soon turn the film into a competition to see who can dig up dirt on who, and then develop a cheap sort of camaraderie as they help each other escape the predicaments that they've created.

While Holloway has sort of a goofy charm, Hare plays his stuffy baboon of a man to the rafters; it's stage acting par excellence, and it will grate on your nerves like a wood chipper grates on a sapling.

The plot is the sort of thing that Neil Simon would throw together when he had some alimony due, and I don't mean that in a good way if there were such a thing. I could see this play still being performed in dinner theaters across Britain, ones that didn't have enough money to scrape together the funds to put on The Fantasticks or afford a ventriloquist of some sort.

I did give the movie an indifference, though, because while it might have been a complete waste of time and existence, it's not a horribly offensive one. There are a few chuckles present, but the only reason you could have to watch this movie answers a telephone and smiles and that's about it.

One Wild Oat (1951)

This film (IMDB) is currently available on DVD.

Directed by Charles Saunders
Starring Robertson Hare and Stanley Holloway
Current IMDB Rating / Votes: 5.0 / 51

Posted by Danny

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