...Honeypot Yellow "They're Like Winnie the Pooh"
I dip my fingertips in honeypot goo and dub thee "my favorite oldie rom-com.” Yes, the film “Vacation from Marriage” (1945) has undoubtedly earned this title. Just ask my Blu-ray player. This little obscure 1945 gem has graced my sleek modern Blu-ray player like a dusty old friend that I just can’t seem to shake. Why would I want to anyway? Let that dust dance, baby. But first, let’s get back to honeypot goo.
“Vacation from Marriage” is a feel-good romantic comedy with just enough sneezes, sighs, and sweet naiveté from its two main characters to stir its audience up into an “awww, they’re just like Winnie the Pooh” comparison. During the first twenty minutes of watching this film, I have to stifle giggles. We meet Cathy Wilson (Deborah Kerr) and Robert Wilson (Robert Donat). They are a couple living a slow, hopelessly routine life in their drab flat on the outskirts of London during World War II. These two tender souls seem to love each other, but they also seem incredibly bored. The story opens with them parting ways. Robert is joining the Navy. Soon after, Cathy joins up for “the cause” and becomes a Wren (a member of the Women’s Royal Navy Service).
During the next three years of their unintentionally long separation (blame it on the war), each embarks on a ravishing personal transformation. Cathy goes from being a “perpetual cold in the nose” sneezer to a healthy woman with gorgeously coiffed hair and sprightly lipstick. She looks like a “pin-up” girl. (Hey, hey Betty Grable!) She also becomes more outgoing and self-confident. She develops friendships with her fellow Wrens. She even gets a male romantic admirer. As for Robert, his old-man mustache is shaved, his seasickness subsides, and he becomes a strong, devoted Navy officer who no longer “puffs” his way up a mere flight of stairs. He, too, finds himself “in fondness” with a member of the opposite sex.
But what do all these personal changes mean for their marriage? Will Robert and Cathy (this sweet “Winnie the Pooh” couple) survive? The answer is “yes.” But it’s not that simple. After finally securing mutually convenient leaves (time off), they are set to reunite at their old flat. You see both of them confiding to their travel companions while en route. Both confess of wanting to discontinue the marriage. But both are wracked by guilt, unflagging loyalty, and lingering love. Cathy elicits yet another giggle from me when she compares Robert to a “clockwork mouse” and says that she doesn’t want to return to their “guinea pig hutch.” Can I just say how stinkin’ cute Deborah Kerr is in this scene? Her pal Dizzy Clayton (Glynis Johns) is on-hand to lend some additional cuteness.
After one glorious night at the neighborhood pub called Coach and Horses, where Cathy and Robert dance and argue, reminisce and argue, and look ready to call some divorce lawyers a.s.a.p., the ship however turns. Both realize that they’ve changed, both emotionally and physically, but that change can actually be good. These two go from pity while en route to this reunion, to confused anger when feeling that their partner’s changes are a sign of conceit or ego, to finally love. It’s a new love, one that will need to be rebuilt (similar to the “desolation” of their war-torn London), but it’s a sweet love. It’s a beloved roly-poly Winnie the Pooh love yet again. The taste of gooey honeydrop returns.
I love “Vacation from Marriage.” Shot during World War II and filmed right in blitz-filled London itself, it’s an interesting, realistic peek into this massive war. But that’s just the back-drop. I love this film even more for its beyond-likeable actors, then its script, and finally, its storyline. This movie won an Academy Award for Best Original Motion Picture Story. It’s easy to tell why. All that accolade for simply giving us Winnie the Pooh. God bless that little bear who never fails to make us smile.