Charming Colman Charms Caroline
"My Life with Caroline" only last 81 minutes yet that is 50 minutes too long. You see "My Life with Caroline" is this light romantic comedy from 1941 which is all about a husband, knowing that his wife is prone to falling for other men who show her attention, playfully preventing her from leaving him. But that is all it is and whilst the charm and smooth talking charisma of Ronald Colman is an absolute delight it becomes monotonous because there is no variation to it.
Whilst on holiday with her father Mr. Bliss (Charles Winninger) in Idaho, Caroline Mason (Anna Lee - Gideon of Scotland Yard) has met and fallen for the suave Paco Del Valle (Gilbert Roland - Cheyenne Autumn) and he wants to marry her. The trouble is that Caroline is already married to business man Anthony (Ronald Colman - Lucky Partners) who arrives in Idaho just as Caroline and Paco plan to leave. But Anthony isn't worried because he knows his wife, he knows she has a tendency to fall for men who pay her attention as 2 years earlier she fell for artist Paul Martindale (Reginald Gardiner) and he also knows he can playfully prevent her from leaving.
So here is the truth "My Life with Caroline" is entertaining for one reason and one reason only and that reason is Ronald Colman. As Anthony he is handsome, dashing and amusingly playful as we witness him dealing with the marital problems caused by Paul two years earlier. You believe him when Anthony is in total control of the situation, one step ahead of Paul and Caroline so that he uses diversion tactics to prevent Caroline saying she is leaving and then showering her with attention so that she begins to question whether she wants to leave him or not.
But whilst Ronald Colman is a sheer joy to watch the rest of the movie struggles as it lacks variety. It almost feels like a sitcom episode dragged out to movie length and it makes it monotonous as we watch things basically go around in circles as Anthony outsmarts both Caroline and Paul. What it needed was for more skulduggery on the part of Paul to make it come to life because as it is it is all Ronald Colman.
Having said that Anna Lee is entertaining as the easily distracted Caroline and the final scene involving Anthony cleverly winning her back from Paco is fun because Lee sells the scene beautiful. And whilst he isn't in it as much as I would have like Gilbert Roland is fun as the suave Paco, especially when he is trying to ask Mr. Bliss permission to marry Caroline. But unfortunately Reginald Gardiner as Paul is dull, he may play his character as intended but it is an extremely dull character which drags the movie down.
What this all boils down to is that "My Life with Caroline" is entertaining but only because of Ronald Colman who's charisma and charm is always entertaining. Take Colman out of the mix and you are left with a movie which drags out an idea for a sitcom causing it to feel monotonous.