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Isn't It Romantic? is a 1948 American musical film from Paramount Pictures, directed by Norman Z. McLeod and starring Veronica Lake and Billy De Wolfe. Supporting actors included Mona Freeman, Richard Webb and Pearl Bailey. Although it takes its title from a 1932 song by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, it is based on a novel called Gather Ye Rosebuds by Jeannette C. Nolan.[1]

Isn't It Romantic?
Poster - Isn't it Romantic 01.jpg
Directed byNorman Z. McLeod
Produced byDaniel Dare
Written byRichard L. Breen
Josef Mischel
Theodore Strauss
Based onGather Ye Rosebuds, novel by Jeannette C. Nolan
StarringVeronica Lake
Billy De Wolfe
Mona Freeman
Richard Webb
Pearl Bailey
Music byJoseph J. Lilley
CinematographyLionel Lindon
Edited byLeRoy Stone
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • October 6, 1948 (1948-10-06)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States

The plot of Isn't It Romantic? is set in Indiana after the Civil War and is about three daughters courted by three young men.[2]


Major Euclid Cameron, an officer of the Confederate Army during the Civil War, writes his memoirs about the hardships of battle right after the war. It is set in Indiana, 1910, and the Major's finances are not in order. Cameron's daughters, Candy, Susie, and Rose, urge him to get a job so they can pay the family's debts. The strongheaded Major refuses, taking pride in the fact that no Cameron has ever had a decent job. He talks himself out of a job offer from a banker in town, Clarissa Thayer, a single woman who has always found him attractive.

The romantic Candy is in town with her fiancé Horace Frazier, but her flirtatious behaviour angers Horace. Candy's talking to complete strangers leads her into the clutches of swindler Richard "Rick" Brannon. Horace believes he recalls Rick from his days at music school back in the day, and invites him to the engagement party for Cameron's daughter Rose and Ben Logan, the son of Judge Thomas Logan. The Judge and the Major are old friends, and at the party they start arguing about the Civil War. At the party, Rick flirts with Rose in front of everyone, and the party breaks up when a fight starts between Rose and Ben.

Rick continues his inappropriate siege by sending Candy a box of flowers and silk stockings the next day. When the Major finds out he is outraged, but soon calms down when he hears about an investment opportunity from Rick. The Major is persuaded to line up as an investor in an oil drilling enterprise in Arkansas.

The same day Susie, Candy, Horace, and Ben go to a movie together, but are forced to leave the theatre after Ben gets into a fight. Upon their return, Ben reconciles with Rose as they go on a picnic together. The Judge then agrees to throw another engagement party for the couple, since the first one went badly.

The unsuspecting Candy eventually falls for Rick's charms, and the Major agrees to collect $3500 from his acquaintances to support Rick's business enterprise. After he has given the money to Rick, he learns that the Judge suspects Rick of being a swindler. On the night of the second engagement party, before the Major has time to react, Rick has left town with the money. Candy has left a note saying she has eloped with Rick. The party is once again interrupted as Ben and Horace go after the train on which Rick and Candy are traveling.

Ben and Horace manage to stop the train by starting a fire on the tracks. They discover Candy and Rick together, arguing as Candy tries to take back the stolen money. Ben knocks Rick unconscious, and the three return home with the money leaving Rick behind. They manage to get back before word gets out that the Major was swindled.



Jeannette Nolan based her novel on her childhood in Evansville, Indiana. It was published in 1946. The Los Angeles Times called the book "diverting... pleasant reading."[4] The New York Times said "Mrs Nolan writes with affection for her tin type characters... but there is more affection than artistry here... The plot is too neat... The characters are... standardized and never achieve reality."[5]

Paramount bought the film rights in May 1946 as a vehicle for Mary Hartcher. It was always intended to be a musical.[6] Josef Mischel and Theodore Strauss were assigned to write the script by producer Daniel Dare. Veronica Lake and Mona Freeman were to co-star opposite Hatcher. The original title was Father's Day and William Russell was to direct.[7] The title was changed to It's Always Spring and Norman Z McLeod was signed to direct instead.[3][8]


In his review for The New York Times, film critic Bosley Crowther was merciless. "A formless and rambling musical, which looks as though it were made with at least a half dozen previous musical successes in mind, is Paramount's "Isn't It Romantic?" which came to the Paramount Theatre yesterday. The funny thing is it bears no likeness to a musical success itself."[9]

Isn't It Romantic? is notable for receiving the shortest review ever given to a motion picture. According to Guinness World Records, well-known critic Leonard Maltin simply replied "No" as a response to the film's title.[10][11]



  1. ^ Isn't It Romantic? marked the acting debut of the future director/producer.[3]


  1. ^ "Hoosier Screenwriters and Novelists whose work has been translated to the screen." Retrieved: April 15, 2007.
  2. ^ "Overview: 'Isn't It Romantic?' (1948) Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: July 7, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Notes: 'Isn't It Romantic?' (1948) Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: July 7, 2015.
  4. ^ Haswell, Emily (28 April 1946). "Teller Escapes From Both Bank's and Reds' Cages". Los Angeles Times. p. C4.
  5. ^ "Tintypes". New York Times. 12 May 1946. p. 129.
  6. ^ "Jeannette Nolan's 'Gather Ye Rosebuds' --Lead to Mary Hatcher". New York Times. 27 May 1946. p. 26.
  7. ^ Brady, Thomas (29 November 1947). "Cagneys, Warners in New Film Deal". New York Times. p. 9.
  8. ^ "Of Local Origin". New York Times. 13 January 1948. p. 28.
  9. ^ Crowther, Bosley. "Movie review: 'Isn t It Romantic?' (1948), With Billy De Wolfe and Veronica Lake, arrives at Paramount." The New York Times, October 7, 1948.
  10. ^ Maltin 2005, p. 700.
  11. ^ Bloomer, Jeffrey (February 14, 2019). "The Story Behind the Shortest Movie Review of All Time: Does Leonard Maltin regret his one-word pan of the original Isn't It Romantic? In a word, no". Slate.


  • Maltin, Leonard. Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide. New York: Signet Books, 2005. ISBN 0-451-21265-7.

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