Saturday, December 26, 2009


Kay Francis and Patric Knowles are in love, but he’s married to Frieda Inescort, an invalid (though as far as I could see, her only problem is a mild limp) who can’t have children. Francis goes to Italy to get advice from her father, who promptly drops dead. When she returns to England, Roland Young, a family friend, figures out that she is pregnant by Knowles, and it is arranged for Francis to have the child and give it to Knowles and his wife to raise as their own. Afterward, Francis goes to America to start a new life and marries George Brent, whom she meets on the ship over. A couple years later, when a friend of hers has a baby, Francis falls into a funk over her "lost" child but eventually, Young arranges a meeting in which Francis gets to see what a good life her child has and what a good mother Inescort is. This is a routine soap opera, notable only because, in the Production Code era, it allows Knowles and Francis to engage in extramarital sex and both have relatively happy outcomes. In fact, in the end, everyone behaves in a most civilized fashion, even Inescort, who in another film might be a demonized figure. The other interesting point is the setting-up of Young and Helen Flint, as a doctor, as a supporting, asexual, comic relief couple analogous to Edward Everett Horton and Helen Broderick in an Astaire/Rogers film. Also with Henry Stephenson as Knowles’ titled father and Halliwell Hobbes as Francis’ father. [TCM]

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