Monday, December 27, 2010

Joan Meets Greer

The east coast ice storms delayed our meeting for a week. We resumed with a rather unusual film, if only for the cast: 1941's When Ladies Meet. Ms. Crawford plays Mary Howard, an author who has recently changed publishers, primarily due to the fact that she has fallen in love with Rogers Woodruff (Herbert Marshall), a philanderer who has enticed Mary to come under his wings, in more ways than one.  Mary's best friend is Jimmy Lee (Robert Taylor); finally able to afford a wife, he proposes to Mary, only to discover SHE has moved on to Rogers.  Her new book reveals her plan - confront the wife of her lover, and reveal her love for him. Certainly, she assumes, no woman would willingly hold on to a man who so truly loves another.

This is by no means a comedy. Though Jimmy's plan to break up Mary and Rogers - introduce Mary to Rogers wife Clare (Greer Garson), in the belief that once Mary KNOWS Clare, she won't want to break up the marriage - sounds like it SHOULD be the plot of a comedy, it is wholely in earnest.  Unfortunately, the plot line turns out to be cruel, hurting the two women, and really having very little impact on the two men who should have been penalized for their actions.

We did NOT like either off the men.  Taylor's Jimmy is a silly, vain, unthinking moron, who cares about what he wants, and uses poor Clare as his scapegoat to get his way.  And then there is Marshall's Rogers - WHAT a cad!  Our hope was that Clare would dump his clothes out the window and change the locks on him! We also thought that Mary would be better off remaining single (she certainly is capable of taking care of herself) than tying herself to either of these idiots.

The bright point in this movie is Spring Byington as Bridget Drake.  Bridget is a delight, a kind, caring woman who is sweet and gentle. She claims to not be particularly bright, but give me her innate kindness and regard for other people over the pseudo-intellectual snobbery of Rogers and Mary!

Here's a trailer for your enjoyment:

Next week, we venture into WWII territory with our Ms. Crawford.

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