I love that people have dug deep in this challenge and brought me some classic-era films that I not only hadn’t seen, but hadn’t even heard of! I’ve see a few Frank Borzage films but never really gotten the hype, so I was glad to get another chance to check him out – and spoilers, I got another one the following week, heh. Based on the strength of the two films, I need to reevaluate all the others I’d seen and dismissed, because I loved them both.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, Little Man, What Now?. The two main characters are poor folks in Weimar-era Germany, and we first meet them at a gynecologist’s office. The doctor confirms Lammchen’s pregnancy, then takes just about all of Hans’ paltry salary in payment. The unmarried couple (the only real reason it deserves a Pre-Code tag) gets married secretly, because his boss is set on getting him to marry his daughter – without stringing her along, Hans is in danger of losing his position.
When I started this challenge, I had a few things in mind that I hoped for – I hoped people would give me stuff I needed to see but hadn’t gotten around to, stuff that I wouldn’t have sought out on my own, stuff I thought I would dislike and end up loving, and stuff I’d never heard of, with a particular hope that I’d get some classic-era stuff I hadn’t heard of, which can be a difficult feat. Well, this week did it, and I’m very glad it did.
Despite having a stellar pedigree – directed by William Wyler, written by Preston Sturges, starring a luminous Margaret Sullavan and a great supporting cast – this film seems to have gone under the radar quite a bit. Sullavan is Luisa Ginglebusher (a Sturges last name if ever I heard one), a girl who’s grown up in an orphanage her whole life, but leaves to take a job as an usherette at a theatre…but all that’s by the by. Once she’s out in the world, it doesn’t take long for her to be surrounded by men. She keeps the advice of orphanage director Beulah Bondi to be careful in her “dealings with the male gender,” but is also led by her admonition to do a good deed every day.