THE BRIDE CAME C.O.D. made back its money for Warner Brothers in 1941, a gross of $4,700,000 putting the slightweight screwball comedy on peg #35 of the years earners. It’s of some trifling interest to fans of its stars, as one of their two teamings, putting them in a comedy instead of their usual drama material, and for a only-funny-later mishap during the shoot.
James Cagney and Bette Davis had worked together as fledglings back in 1934s Jimmy The Gent. While they liked each other’s professionalism, they had both disliked the script for that film, and dismissed this one as well. Though scripted by the estimable Epstein brothers, Julius J. & Philip G, it’s weak stuff, a takeoff of sorts on It Happened One Night, minus most of the laughs.
Broke flier Cagney takes a job to spirit heiress Davis to elope with smarmy bandleader Jack Carson, but also contracts with the gal’s irate dad (Eugene Pallette) to make sure the wedding doesn’t come off. Crashing in the desert, the brassy pilot and the rich dame of course find out they care for each other, after suitable pratfalls and wisecracks.
In her autobio, Davis said “we both reached bottom with this one.” She was obliquely referring to what happened to her during the location filming in Death Valley. She fell onto some cactus and had to have four dozen quills removed from the Bette behind. The Price of Stardom. Not a horrible movie, and they’re certainly watchable, but it ranks pretty low on their resumes.
Directed by William Keighley, who was quoted “You should have seen the long faces just before I called ‘action’ and the sighs of relief when I called ‘cut!'” Running 92 minutes, with Stuart Erwin, George Tobias, Harry Davenport, William Frawley, Edward Brophy, Chick Chandler, Douglas Kennedy and William Hopper.