The cast for this 1936 MGM movies is first rate. The leads are top names of the day. Clark Gabe is Van, Jean Harlow is his secretary, Whitey, and Myrna Loy is his wife, Linda. The supporting cast is tops as well. May Robson is Mimi, George Barbier is Underwood, and Tom Dugan is Finney. And, James Stewart has a supporting role in only his second year and fourth feature film. He already had one film as the male lead, and he would have two more before this year (1936) was over.
The plot of "Wife versus Secretary" is a female love triangle (two females in love with the same man, whereas the usual is two mien competing of h same woman). Only, in this case, one of the women doesn't make a move for the man. Harlow plays straight, not wanting to break up a marriage in which her boss clearly loves his wife. But Loy's Linda begins to become jealous and suspicious. Van has to work late many nights. This is an age-old scenario in appearance. Even in the day this film was made, marriages went on the rocks over such situations. Most often they actually happened – a boss with his secretary or another woman.
But in this story, Linda knows that Van loves her. His affection toward his wife is obvious always. But her suspicion lies with Whitey. She doesn't doubt the working times they have to spend together, but she begins to think that Whitey may be using those as a way slowly to pry her husband away for herself.
This is a different twist on a common story, including one for the movies. And the ending is different and very good. The performance all are very good and the direction and technical work are very good. While it's interesting, and somewhat novel, there also isn't much excitement in the story to earn it more even stars. Most adults should enjoy it for the cast, but younger audiences today will likely find it dull.
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