Tuesday, July 02, 2002


This little-known (and apparently little-seen) movie features two of my favorite leading women, Irene Dunne and Myrna Loy. It has an interesting premise, but it doesn't spend enough time developing it in the first half, then it dawdles through the second half. Dunne gets jilted by Lester Vail (apparently he does love Dunne and considers her his best friend, but he marries for money); Pat O'Brien is a reporter who is similarly jilted by Myrna Loy. Dunne and O'Brien meet and, since misery loves company, they hit it off. They obviously like each other, but the romantic spark isn't quite there; nevertheless, since they can't quite get over their lost loves, they decide to get married and have something like an "open" marriage, allowing straying if the opportunity should come up. Years later, they have a child and seem superficially happy, but both still pine for their ex-lovers. Coincidentally, both exes come back into their lives at the same time, and life-changing decisions have to be made.

The cast puts this over, despite some general plotting sloppiness. Toward the end, some changes of heart feel unmotivated or not well fleshed out. John Halliday (Seth Lord in THE PHILADELPHIA STORY) is good as O'Brien's boss and best friend. Loy, though not having much to do except at the very beginning and very end, is dangerously beautiful as a flapper-type blond; she is really very striking, partly because she looks so unlike I've ever seen her look before. This pre-Code film, though not racy, could still probably not have done a few years later. Certainly I doubt they could have been as frank about the marriage arrangement.

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