Over the Moon

The film, “Over the Moon,” came out in 1939 with an interesting cast that includes Merle Oberon, Rex Harrison and Robert Douglas.  Oberon plays Jane Benson, a poor but generally happy woman that receives an inheritance of 18 million pounds.  This brings out the fortune hunters (men and women) who pursue her for her money and discourages her fiance, a country doctor named Freddie Jarvis (Harrison).  Jane giddily accepts the money and proceeds to spend it lavishly.  Freddie steps aside, becoming a tabloid sensation for his integrity.  He takes a job as a doctor at a clinic/resort in Switzerland, where rich female hypochondriacs vie for his attention.

The poster for "Over the Moon."

The poster for “Over the Moon.”

Jane’s pursuers include a foreigner named Pietro (Louis Borel) and a pompous gigolo named Guy (Mackenzie Ward).  Jane suspects their intentions right away but leads them on, even inviting them to a holiday in Monte Carlo.  Jane spends so freely that it emphasizes the point that money must have been worth a lot more in 1939.  She buys glorious outfits, funds Möet et Chandon champagne and caviar parties and stays at high end hotels.  At one hotel, she meets an Unknown Man, who is constantly shadowed by two plain clothes detectives.  She takes him for a thief and plots an escape route for him.  In the end, he becomes a major new character who helps her achieve her ultimate goals.

The film stresses that money does not guarantee happiness, even though Jane seems balanced enough to really enjoy her wealth and fame.  The greedy characters who hang around Jane operate in rich circles, or are at least doing well enough to have servants and live in lavish surroundings.  I don’t know if they are really impoverished dukes, lords and countesses, or are just playing that role to fool Jane.  One character, an interior designer and social organizer named Lord Petcliffe (Peter Haddon), can summon a party at a moment’s notice.  Jane suspects that her new friends are after her money, but she doesn’t care.

The rich technicolor photography add interest to this film, along with skiing scenes in Switzerland.  The listing for the movie at imdb.com only lists Denham Studios as a filming location, but the director, Thornton Freeland, and the producer, Alexander Korda, managed to make both Switzerland and Monte Carlo realistic.  Of course, it’s fantastic to see the beautiful Merle Oberon in glorious Technicolor, especially since she goes from rags to riches and wears such glorious costumes.


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