Glorious 1939 featured so many good Hollywood movies that I always pay attention when a film from that year shows up on the Turner Classic Movies channel. In that year, United Artists came out with “Stagecoach,” “Of Mice and Men,” “Wuthering Heights,” and several lesser known pictures such as “Eternally Yours,” a romantic comedy starring Loretta Young as a bishop’s grand-daughter and David Niven as a daredevil magician.
Niven plays Tony, aka “The Great Arturo” on stage. He does card tricks, predicts the future, and jumps out of airplanes with a parachute and in handcuffs. He survives the first jump and then tours the world doing the stunt in world capitals. Loretta Young’s Anita meets the magician at a performance and they begin married life. She soon finds that she can’t compete with a famous Houdini-like magician and his adoring public. The story concerns the events that lead to a breakup of their marriage, and the possibility of reconciliation.
Besides Loretta Young and David Niven, the cast includes several well-known actors, including Hugh Herbert, Billie Burke, C. Aubrey Smith, Broderick Crawford, Zazu Pitts and Eve Arden. So, although the film is not brilliant, it’s a comfort to see such high-level talent displaying their acting skills. The director, Tay Garnett, later directed “The Postman Always Rings Twice” in 1946. He directed his first feature, “Celebrity,” in 1928 and his last, “Timber Tramps,” in 1975 — working steadily in “B” pictures and television throughout the years.