Miss Grant Takes Richmond

Release date: September 20, 1949
Director: Lloyd Bacon
Story by: Everett Freeman
Screenplay by: Devery Freeman, Nat Perrin, Frank Tashlin
Cast: Lucille Ball, William Holden

This is such a great little film, anchored by two hardworking Hollywood actors on the edge of superstardom. Made in 1949, Miss Grant Takes Richmond features two spirited performances from Lucille Ball — just two years before she became the queen of television with I Love Lucy — and William Holden — a year before his breakthrough role in Billy Wilder’s Sunset Blvd.

Ball plays the titular Miss Grant, a recent graduate from a secretarial school hand-picked by Holden’s Mr. Richmond to be his new secretary for his real estate firm. Miss Grant is shocked by this sudden job offer as she is a bit of a klutz; the film begins with Grant’s fight with a typewriter, ending in a face full of ink. Mr. Richmond’s real estate business is actually a front for his work as a bookie and he’s counting on Miss Grant’s apparent empty-headedness to work in his favor. Miss Grant, however, is determined to be the best secretary possible. The result is a series of misfortunes for Mr. Richmond the bookie and successes for the real estate firm.

Miss Grant Takes Richmond is one of several comedies from the 1940s addressing the WWII housing shortage, and although the film is not an essential classic like George Stevens’s 1943 film The More The Merrier, it’s a fun watch nonetheless.

Lucille Ball in particular shines in her part, showing off her ability for physical comedy. There’s also a great scene wherein Miss Grant dresses as a gangster a la James Cagney or Edward G. Robinson. Her impersonation is spot-on and her interaction with Holden in this scene is probably one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

Full of energy, laughs and just a hint of romance, this film is a must-see for fans of both its stars.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

4 Responses

  1. amy says:

    One’s gotta love Lucy ;D I don’t know why I’ve never seen a movie with her.

    By the way, you forgot to tag the genres xD

  1. April 1, 2011

    […] Miss Grant Takes Richmond […]

  2. April 18, 2011

    […] While the film itself doesn’t mention the housing shortage that often, when it does it’s only mention in passing. The most dynamic mention of it is when Benjamin Dingle (Charles Coburn) first arrives at the apartment of Connie Milligan (Jean Arthur), who has posted an ad looking for a roommate. There is literally a crowd of people looking to get the room. If you’re interested in seeing another film on the same subject, I’d suggest you try to find a copy of the 1949 William Holden/Lucille Ball film Miss Grant Takes Richmond. […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.