What’s The Story? Rich lady about town Susan (our miss Joan) is due back any minute from a long trip to Europe. Her boozy estranged husband Barrie (Frederic March) is none too happy about this. Susan has alienated their daughter Blossom (Ruth Quigley, NOT Mayim Bialik) who gets into a crying fit over being sent to yet another summer camp and just wants her family to get back together. Susan’s good friends Irene, Clyde, Leonora, Charlotte and Hutchie are all at sixes and sevens as well, what with two of them prevented from being together by a lack of divorce and another couple longing for each other but one of them is inconveniently married.
Susan’s (and Joan’s) arrival in the film is on the bow of a speedboat, hurtling towards the group at breakneck speed. While she doesn’t crash into the pier, Susan definitely crashes into her friends’ lives. Talking a mile a minute, Susan waxes about the new religion she learned while in Europe, like she does with Leonora (Rita Hayworth) and her ex boyfriend. (Video can't be embedded, sorry) And Susan’s truth-telling has major consequences for her life and for those around her.
Based on Rachel Crother’s play, Susan And God starts out as a Noel Coward-esque satire on religious fads and superficial spirituality. And the first half of the movie delivers on this. Susan is about as deep as a pancake, and uses this new religion to try to deflect responsibility in her life while insisting it in her friends. There’s a lot of rat-a-tat dialogue which is delivered well by an able cast. But the film turns very serious in its second half, almost losing all of its comedy and bite where Susan tries to make things work with her family and all but forgets about the new religion. The film makes less sense at it goes on. It’s a forgotten part of Crawford’s filmography and it’s easy to see why.
Oh, And How’s Joan? Joan delivers most of the time. Paired again with her director from The Women George Cukor, Joan proves two films in a row that can can deliver funny dialogue while playing the pathos underneath. Her scenes with Frederic March sparkle. But the story goes off the rails and there’s little Joan can do about it. Joan got the role after Norma Shearer (her main rival at MGM) turned down the role. The film was a financial disappointment and started a run of films which ended in MGM not renewing her contract.
Should I Watch It? Eh. Maybe? She’s fine in it, but she’s way better in The Women (which I will cover later). If you are a completionist, sure give this a whirl. But I think your time will be better suited watching other films of hers.
Where Can I Watch It? I recorded it off of TCM, but you can buy the DVD of it here.