Plot: Mary Brennan (Loretta Young) has retained a good heart, despite being raised by career criminals and schooled in the ways of thieves. The latest caper is one only Mary could pull off, as it turns out she is a dead ringer for one of the richest girls in high society, Margaret Waring (Loretta Young). The plan is to use Mary’s identical looks to gain access to the mansion of the rich and famous, separate some loot, and cash in on the haul. The plan seems like a sound one, especially since Mary is indeed a perfect match for Margaret, but of course, things don’t go as planned and the plot winds up falling into chaos. Margaret’s boyfriend is fooled by Mary’s looks, but can tell something is off, as his girlfriend seems warmer than ever before. When the real Margaret winds up in the mix, will anyone be able to tell who is who and will the truth about the girls’ connection be revealed?
Entertainment Value: I’d recommend Road to Paradise based on Loretta Young’s dual performance alone, but there’s also some wild elements at work here, including the magic of ESP. The girls have a special mental connection of course and the movie plays on that often, with Mary and Margaret able to communicate or influence each other via reading minds. The narrative is fine, but this is not a movie driven by realism, as the plot takes some downright implausible twists and turns. But that works in the film’s favor, as this kind of over the top material can be benefit from some outlandish touches, if they’re done right. And since Road to Paradise keeps things brisk and always holds your attention, it is easy to overlook how ridiculous some of the plot devices are, including a wildly convenient finale. The efficient 74 minute run time helps as well, keeping the story lean and kinetic. So perhaps you won’t be able to take the narrative seriously, but the entertainment is here in spades, which means fans of classic movies, wild melodramas, and Loretta Young should be pleased here.
This is a fun one for those who can’t enough Loretta Young, as she has dual roles and seeing her as twins with ESP is something else, not a scenario most classic films fans likely expected. I have to think her performance will be the draw for most viewers and probably the most memorable element involved, as she is head and shoulders above the rest of Road to Paradise. As I’ve said, the material here is more than a little over the top, but Young provides a competent effort that flows with the needs of the movie, sometimes straight faced, other times more dialed up. She shows some restraint however, even in the wilder, head scratching sequences, so she doesn’t take the roles as over the top as she could have. I wouldn’t have minded a more manic take, given the nature of the material, but Young is captivating and easily the highlight of the picture. The cast also includes Jack Mulhall, Dot Farley, and Raymond Hatton.