Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Amazing Adventure (1936) - Ernest Bliss? Really?

Dateline: London - Millionaire playboy Ernest Bliss was diagnosed today as having come down with a bad case of being too rich and indolent. Offended by his doctor's diagnosis, or perhaps only confused about the meaning of the word indolent, Mr. Bliss immediately bet the doctor that he could spend a year living solely on his wits instead of his fortune. Taking only his suitcase and a five pound note, Bliss set off to actually find a job and a new place to live. If he can make it through the entire year without resorting to using his fortune for his own gain, then Mr Bliss will win an apology and a handshake from the doctor. If, on the other hand, he does not make it, then he will have to pay the doctor 50,000 pounds.

Well, kiddies, there you have it, premise behind this little morsel also known as The Amazing Quest of Ernest Bliss. Cary Grant stars as Ernest Bliss, and is, as usual, his charming Cary Grant self. Other than that, well, there's not much to see here. Sure, there are a few complications along the way - the most interesting involving a pair of gangsters who take over Bliss's house in his absence - and, of course, Bliss learns a few life-lessons during his time "on the streets', but it's really hard to truly get behind Bliss's efforts or to feel any real sympathy for him when it's obvious that if life gets too hard all he has to do is hand over the money to the doctor (money that it appears Bliss would never really miss considering how much he winds up passing out at the end of the film) and he can return to his lifestyle of comfort and leisure. Nor is there even any real sense of suspense created when it appears he might just lose the beautiful girl he has met along the way.

As I said, with it's 61 minute running time, this is really just a tasty morsel. Still, like one of those fun-sized chocolates one might get at Halloween or Easter, while it's ultimately forgettable, there's nothing wrong with a little bite-sized confection every now and then, is there?

Here's a clip that shows Bliss' confrontation with the doctor and the beginning of his journey:

And here's the Skinnny:
Title: The Amazing Adventure
Release Date: 1936
Running Time: 61min
Black and White
Starring: Cary Grant
Directed by: Alfred Zeisler
Produced by: Alfred Zeisler
Distributed by: United Artists

The Amazing Adventure is available to watch or download for free here.
It's also available for purchase on DVD from Amazon: The Amazing Adventure
Until next time, Happy Treasure Hunting,
-Professor Damian


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