Wednesday, July 11, 2012


On the occasion of their first anniversary, Donald Woods buys his wife (Margaret Lindsay) a new fur, and she buys him a new overcoat. They get a chuckle out of listening to their neighbors (Guy Kibbee and Ruth Donnelly) in the apartment next door argue, but Lindsay becomes upset when her husband can't go out for a special anniversary dinner because he's making a house call on a client, the slightly addled Hugh Herbert (pictured with a sheep; don't ask). As it turns out, Herbert's not home but his flirtatious wife (Glenda Farrell) is. She does her best to seduce Woods but is interrupted by someone at the door. Assuming it's her husband, she shoos Woods out the window to the fire escape, and he leaves his new coat behind. Actually, the visitor is Kibbee, with whom she's been having a fling for some time. Another interruption and Kibbee's out the widow, his coat left on top of Woods'; this time, it really is Herbert who notices the two coats and doesn't quite believe they're his even though Farrell insists. When Woods gets home, Lindsay notices he's missing his overcoat and he tells her some cockamamie story about giving it to a beggar, but the next day at the beauty salon, Lindsay overhears Farrell telling a beautician about the coats and she decides to take a train to Reno for a divorce. On the same train is Donnelly, also getting a divorce. Ultimately all three couples wind up in Reno where a series of misadventures lead to divorce cancellations, then reinstatements, until Woods and Kibbee plot with bellboy Frank McHugh to turn the tables on the wives by swiping their furs and showing them how easy it is to come to false assumptions. Relatively happy endings await all.

This mildly bawdy B-comedy is not particularly distinguished but is worth notice for two reasons; 1) it was one of the last films released before the Production Code wiped out most racy humor, double-entendres, and unpunished immoral behavior in Hollywood films—and as far as I can tell, Herbert and Donnelly don't get punished for their affair; 2) it features several Warner Bros. supporting players in larger roles than they usually got in A-movies.  Lindsay and Woods, the nominal leads, are lackluster, but the rest of the sextet shine, as does McHugh and famous stutterer Roscoe Ates.  Louise Beavers, usually consigned to maid parts (IMITATION OF LIFE, HOLIDAY INN), has only a couple of lines, but they're memorable: explaining to a lawyer why she wants a divorce, she says she's had 12 kids:  "Some call that love but I call it madness!"  A few film historians have compared this to the notorious long-lost pre-Code film CONVENTION CITY, with much of the same cast and similar shenanigans, so this may be as close as we can get to seeing that film.  [TCM]

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