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Reaching for the Moon

(1930 b 73')

En: 5 Ed: 5

An aviatrix meets a Wall Street wizard, and he woos her on a cruise ship while the stock market crashes.

Sir Horace Partington Chelmsford (Claud Allister) keeps a reporter out of the departure party for Vivien Benton (Bebe Daniels). At a Wall Street dinner for Larry Day (Douglas Fairbanks) the speaker calls him a financial wizard; but Larry comes in and repeatedly interrupts him with his optimism for buying cotton. When the man leaves, Larry apologizes. At a party Vivien wants to meet Larry Day, but the non-drinking businessman goes home early. Vivien bets Larry's employee Jimmy Carrington (Jack Mulhall) that she can get to Larry. Horace says he likes Vivien even though she is frigid; they are engaged but haven't even kissed. Larry's valet Roger (Edward Everett Horton) observes Vivien with binoculars and tells Larry how he studies making love to women. Vivien calls on Larry at his office; but he tells her he is busy. Then he takes all his phones off the hook. She says she won a bet and is sailing that night; but he invites her to dinner. At Larry's penthouse Roger instructs Larry in technique. Vivien calls from the ship and laughs at Larry.

In her cabin Vivien asks a steward to fix the light. Larry laughs and takes her shoes. A woman wires Larry that his finances are desperate. Larry invites Vivien to his room for cocktails. Roger mixes a drugged cocktail and becomes aggressive. Horace tells Larry that he is engaged to Vivien; Horace drinks and threatens him. Larry takes his first drink ever and acts like an ape. He tackles Horace and Roger too, runs from the stewards, and finally is subdued when he hits his head on the floor. Vivien arrives, and Larry congratulates her. She takes a drink and pushes people aside as she heads for the ballroom. There a man (Bing Crosby) sings Irving Berlin's "Low Down." Vivien sings it too and dances. Larry and Vivien walk on the deck and are followed by several people. Larry tells her he is in love for the first time and worships her. Then he suspects she is laughing at him and sees the others. Larry gets a call from New York, and Jimmy tells him that he is wiped out.

In port Vivien looks for Larry to say good-bye. She tells him he hurt her wrist. Larry says he was reaching for the moon, but it was "beautiful fun." Roger informs Vivien that Larry has tremendous obligations. Vivien tells Larry that she loves him. He says he is broke, but she has faith in his ability. In the final scene the bride Vivien waits for Larry, who comes in with his optimistic chatter about copper.

Two ambitious people are drawn together. She sees beyond his inexperience with women to his touching sincerity even though at times he can be brash and insensitive. Such men can ride stocks, yet bounce back.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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