Tuesday, February 28, 2006


An OK pre-Code romantic comedy which ends too traditionally, with the independent woman giving things up for the insecure, passive male. We first meet Frank Albertson and Loretta Young as they graduate from college. Albertson is a bandleader who has a chance to take his band to Paris, but Young is determined to forge her own career so she stays behind and looks for a job in New York City. Eventually, she finds herself in the right place at the right time and becomes secretary to advertising executive Ricardo Cortez. Showing initiative, she starts writing copy on her own. Cortez gives her a job as an ad writer (admitting she's good but also noting to a fellow exec that she'd be worth the money just to have as an attractive office ornament) and also starts trying to woo her. Albertson, hearing of her success, comes back to New York and in a comedy of errors scene, we (and Cortez) find out that Albertson and Young have actually been married all along. Albertson wants Young to leave her position but she doesn't want to, so they split up. There is some more see-sawing between the two as he becomes successful in New York (thanks partly to Young, who had recommended his band to a radio sponsor) and Cortez continues to pursue Young. Finally, Cortez tries to engineer divorce proceedings by talking the couple into hiring a professional co-respondent (Joan Blondell) to be caught with Albertson, but at the last minute, the couple straighten everything out, with the implication that she will leave her job and live in wedded bliss with her passive, insecure man.

The short movie is mostly enjoyable (if you can overlook the muddled sexual politics), and all the actors are fine. Albertson is good in a rare leading role; he played best-friend juvenile parts for many years into his adulthood, and is probably best known as Sam Wainwright, George Bailey's romantic rival in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Cortez is as slimy as he should be, but we can also see his charm, and Young is spunky and gay (in the old-fashioned sense of the word). Blondell injects a nice blast of comic energy in her short scene near the end. A couple of good lines: Cortez to Young (whose character's name is Claire): "I was married once to a girl named Claire--that was one of my Follies of 1920." A frustrated Young to Albertson: "You're only good for two things: making music and making love." Cute, but no lost gem. [TCM]

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