Sunday, December 18, 2011
Good Sam (5 stars)
Good Sam, from 1948, starring Gary Cooper and Ann Sheridan, is a touching Leo McCarey comedy very much in the same spirit as the beloved "It's a Wonderful Life." Since Gary Cooper is one of my great loves, I had been doing a search of his filmography a few years ago, and this lovely film was one that really jumped out at me as a must-see. So, through the fantastic inter-library loan program, I obtained a VHS copy (from a library in Missouri, as I recall), and I totally fell in love with this little-known gem. I watched it in the middle of the summer, and because there is a holiday theme to it, I kept hoping TCM would put it on their Christmas movie schedule, and after three years of waiting, they have finally done so---this coming Tuesday!! I couldn't be more thrilled!!
Much like It's a Wonderful Life, Good Sam is the story of a man who continually touches the lives of others...and ends up broke and in hot water as a result. Coop is Sam Clayton, a man who would---and usually does---give the shirt off his back to someone in need. Sam's wife, Lu (Ann Sheridan), is mildly frustrated by Sam's generosity, for it has kept them from having the money to purchase a home of their own. When they finally do have enough savings for a down payment, Sam loans some of it to a friend. With the remaining "house money," Sam buys turkeys for a charity giveaway, with the intent to reimburse himself from donations given. Only problem is, Sam gets robbed, so there is no money with which to pay himself back, which means he won't be able to close on the house...and with Lu already starting to move their things in, Sam is desperately in need of a little help himself.
This movie is totally delightful...I absolutely love it! It's a warm and fuzzy story, the kind that leaves you feeling good all over. Coop is his usual handsome, loveable self, and Ann Sheridan is totally fantastic. The two of them had amazing chemistry together and played fabulously off one another. There is one scene in which Ann gets into a major laughing fit...it's quite hysterical to see her going on that long.
I highly recommend adding this movie to your Christmas movie list. It is on the TCM evening schedule for Tuesday, December 20th. Check for the time in your area, then set your DVR. I think this is one you will want to record, as it's not out on DVD and is pretty difficult to track down. I know I will be recording it to a disc and adding it to my own classic movie library (and, thus, my annual Christmas viewing schedule).