You And Me

  • 1938
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Deemed an artistic failure at the time of its release, Fritz Lang's YOU AND ME is, nonetheless, an interesting misfire with enough creativity and imagination to warrant viewing. Attempting a mixture of romance, drama, social observation, comedy, and music, the film has a distracting schizophrenic quality that can be frustrating at times. Raft stars as an...read more

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Deemed an artistic failure at the time of its release, Fritz Lang's YOU AND ME is, nonetheless, an interesting misfire with enough creativity and imagination to warrant viewing. Attempting a mixture of romance, drama, social observation, comedy, and music, the film has a distracting

schizophrenic quality that can be frustrating at times. Raft stars as an ex-con now in the employ of department-store owner Carey, who staffs his establishment with a good number of ex-cons as a humanitarian gesture to those who have paid their debt to society. At the store, Raft meets and falls

in love with Sidney, another employee. The two begin a romance, but Sidney hides the fact that she is an ex-con as well. Raft proposes marriage and Sidney accepts, but worries because she is still on parole and the rules forbid parolees to wed. When Raft finally learns that Sidney is an ex-con on

parole and their wedding was illegal, the news sinks him into a depression that sends him back into the underworld. Raft organizes a gang to rob Carey's store. Sidney learns of the plan and convinces the amazingly patient and benevolent Carey to let her talk the gang out of the robbery. Sidney

waits for the gang to invade the store and then sits them down in front of a chalkboard and calculates that each gang member would only garner $133.33 from the robbery--a sum not worth risking a jail term over--thus proving that crime really does not pay (the scene is supposed to be played for

laughs but doesn't quite work). Embarrassed and angered by his wife's intervention, Raft leaves the gang and disappears. He returns months later, however, upon receiving news that Sidney is about to give birth to their child. Joined by his gang, the proud father gazes at his baby and proposes

again to Sidney, whose parole is finally up. The film ends with Raft, Sidney, and the baby at the altar. YOU AND ME was originally supposed to be directed by Krasna, the author of the story, and was to star Carole Lombard and George Raft. Lombard left the picture and Sidney was chosen to replace

her. Neither Raft nor Sidney had any confidence in Krasna as a director and they wanted him out. Sidney requested Lang whom she had worked with in FURY and YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE. The German director was hired and shooting began. Lang saw in the material an opportunity to create a Brechtian drama that

would continue the series of socially relevant films he had made in America with Sidney--but in a different vein. The director called in fellow German expatriate Kurt Weill to pen songs for the film that would reflect the themes Lang was dealing with. Unfortunately, Weill became disillusioned with

the project and left after writing only three songs. While the musical numbers are well done in and of themselves, they are badly integrated into the narrative and seem as if they have been inserted from another film. While certainly not noted for his comedic flair (there is little humor in any of

his films), Lang does a reasonably good job with the light moments and delivers some big laughs. Perhaps best is the scene where Raft seriously intones, "I'm telling you this is a good racket, and there isn't a racket I haven't tried." Only then does Lang's camera reveal that the ex-crook is in

the department store talking to a customer while holding a tennis racket. When Lang finally delivered the film, the bewildered studio didn't know what to make of it and tried to sell it in the same vein as Lang's ultra-serious dramas FURY and YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE. The ads showed a sullen Sidney with

her back against a very official looking document detailing the rules of the State Parole Board with rule number one, "You May Not Marry," in bigger type and boldface. A large quote of dialog appears to the right of the ad screaming, "I've done my time...now I want my man!" The tag line proclaims:

"Two great dramatic stars bring you the searing story of love on parole!" The ads were a bit misleading to say the least, but they are indicative of the critical and popular confusion over this strange hybrid of a film.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Deemed an artistic failure at the time of its release, Fritz Lang's YOU AND ME is, nonetheless, an interesting misfire with enough creativity and imagination to warrant viewing. Attempting a mixture of romance, drama, social observation, comedy, and music,… (more)

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