Service De Luxe (1938) (Film Debut Of Vincent Price)

service de luxe 1938

The first movie appearance of Vincent Price is a romantic comedy with Constance Bennett. He’s an inventor and she’s a businesswoman. He doesn’t like bossy women, especially career women. She wants a man who doesn’t need constant care. This is a nice romantic comedy with a flaw here and there when Mischa Auer plays a mad Russian. But even his role settles down and that all makes for a good time.

Helen Murphy (Constance Bennett) runs a service called Dorothy Madison. All employees use that name. The service can do just about anything for anybody. She sets up a wedding and the best man is wealthy engineer Scott Robinson (Charlie Ruggles). He flirts with her and is a major client. His flighty daughter Audrey (Joy Hodges) has to go there each month to pick up her allowance.

Helen’s assistant is her Aunt Pearl (Helen Broderick) who is also known as Madison Two. A call comes in from Robert Wade’s uncle. He wants the service to stop his nephew from coming to New York. He’s taking a boat from Albany and he doesn’t care if Robert (Vincent Price) is tossed overboard.

Before Robert leaves home his Aunts are all over him. They give him food, a scarf, a box lunch and much more attention and advice than he wants. He’s invented a new kind of tractor and is hoping to sell it in New York. He has a big cylinder with the blueprints. He gets on the boat and sees a man sitting alone on a bench. He unloads the food etc. on him and walks further on board.

Helen gets there and walks around calling “Bob.” No one answers. Then she spots the man on the bench with a scarf that has the initials R.W. She thinks that’s her man and makes up a story that gangsters are after him and he better get off at the next stop. Mission accomplished. She doesn’t know he was the wrong guy.

Bob accidentally knocks off her hat with the cylinder. He’s obnoxious but romance blooms anyway. He tells her how he can’t stand bossy career women so she keeps her identity secret. She gives him her private instead of business phone number. Back in New York the uncle calls and is ballistic. He sends Bob to Dorothy Madison.

Helen looks through a small peep hole in the office door and sends Pearl out to deal with him. Helen calls Robinson and asks him to look at Bob’s plans. Meanwhile Robinson wants to learn to cook and Madison sends over Serge Bebenko (Mischa Auer). He’s a little crazy.

Bob is waiting to see Robinson when Audrey spots him. Then Robinson comes out of the kitchen and wants everyone to do a taste test and see who made the best dish. Everyone but Bob picks Serge’s. Bob knew that was his way to Robinson. The tactic works and he’s set up with a workshop in Robinson home and Madison gets him an apartment.

The romance continues between Helen and Bob as he doesn’t have a clue about what Helen really does. He’s sick and tired of Madison running his life. The last straw is when Helen, using a disguised voice, calls him and warns him about Audrey. Audrey bothers Bob while he’s working and he makes comments to her questions not realizing that he’s agreed to marry her. She runs off before he can straighten things out.

Audrey goes to Madison and mentions that she’s engaged. Helen knows now she can’t hide her true identity any longer. She goes to Bob’s apartment to tell all. Bad mistake.

The movie continues on to the expected conclusion. It’s silly but fits and doesn’t take any enjoyment away from the movie.

Vincent Price-Constance Bennett

Vincent Price-Constance Bennett

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About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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