It’s hard to classify today’s film, Love Nest, because it seems to suffer from the same problems of yesterday’s film As Young As You Feel. Love Nest focuses on a small ensemble cast, several subplots, and in contrast to the other film is sickeningly sweet. A product of the early 50’s no doubt, Love Nest ends with such a sweet bow on top you’ll get a toothache from all the “aw’s” being spewed out. Aside from its sweetness, the film is just a bland hodgepodge of characters (with a jerk husband leading the pack) and Marilyn in the…oddest role I’ve seen so far.
Love Nest follows recent war vet Jim Scott (William Lundigan) and his wife Connie (June Haver). Connie has recently purchased an apartment for the couple they’re leasing to tenants and plan on fixing up. Unfortunately, the house is in disrepair and the tenants all have issues they’re dealing with. The arrival of conman Charley Patterson (Frank Fay) and Jim’s war buddy Roberta “Bobbie” Stevens (Monroe) complicate matters for the couple.
The movie should have had potential, especially being scripted by the famed I.A.L. Diamond who did some fantastic work with Billy Wilder, yet this movie wasn’t anything special. It was neither good or bad, it was okay, a “meh” film in my book. The problem is everything is far too cut and dried. Jim comes home from war, with no discussion of it other than mentioning his time with Bobbie, and everyone is immediately thrown into the chaos of the new house. I know the movie comes at a time when the effects of WWII weren’t dwelled on but seriously you can’t make it sound like the worst thing that happened was he got to go to Paris with Marilyn Monroe! That just feels like a disservice to the men who gave their lives…or at least didn’t visit the City of Love with a gorgeous woman.
Speaking of Jim, the man is just a jerk. The actor Lundigan is pretty stock and dry but his character is just a grouch. Everything annoys him and when he isn’t annoyed he’s uninterested. He spends the majority of the film griping to poor Connie and when she discovers Charley’s a conman he pretty much calls her an idiot saying that “confidence men don’t marry penniless widows.” Maybe not but she’s obviously go some money and he’s a conman for crying out loud! He doesn’t even entertain the notion that someone isn’t who they say they are and calls Connie paranoid. This coming from the same man who can’t ask for the rent from two women!
The subplot with Price is just laughably ridiculous. Fay is great, reminding me of Burgess Meredith with the voice and constant references to works of classic literature. But I couldn’t get over how pat his storyline is. He’s swindled countless women of their life savings and says he’s fallen in love and he’s sorry. And he gets twin daughters out of the deal. The fact that I have to imagine this man having sex and procreating at his age was off-putting enough, but he gets away scot-free, keeps his wife and house and even has children.
Marilyn is miscast as the WAC driver. Whoever believed she’d be someone’s driver is an idiot and she doesn’t do much but shower and lay around in a bathing suit. There’s a subplot involving her with another tenant or someone but she disappears rather quickly, odd considering her prominent casting in the credits.
Love Nest is a series of comings and goings with people coming to the couple’s door every second. The film isn’t anything special, a sweet typical film of the early 50s and nothing more. Although June Haver is beautiful and sweet as Connie.
A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.