21 January 2013 | AlsExGal
Some collect stamps, others collect husbands...
... is what could be said of Winnie Lightner's character Gertie Dale. The film opens in the year 1927 - Gertie is the bride in a wedding ceremony. Next the title reads 1929 - Gertie is again the bride - surprisingly with the same minister. Next it's current day and Gertie's two husbands are on their honeymoon - with two new wives! Whatever is going on here? Well it turns out that Gertie's ex-husbands, George and Elmer (comedy team Olsen and Johnson), both work for swimsuit designer John Aberdeen Arnold (Claude Gillingham) who makes today's Tea Party look like a bunch of tree hugging hippies. He insists on designing women's sportswear appropriate for 1910 not 1931. He also is against divorce and insists all his employees be married- although strangely enough he isn't. Thus Elmer's and George's allegedly strictly business remarriage - although they do look like they're having fun on their joint honeymoon - and their desire to hide their previous marriages to Gertie.
Gertie invades the scene when the two stop paying alimony. They say the reason they stopped paying is that Arnold won't raise their pay enough for them to give her the money until the company can come up with a successful design, which is impossible given Arnold's old-fashioned ideas. Thus Gertie has to work on old man Arnold and change his ideas so the boys can get a raise and so she can get her alimony. Extremely zany antics ensue including a boat chase scene that defies many laws of physics. Oh, and Gertie has yet another ex-husband that pops up in the middle of the film too! People that want their characters to make sense will not like this film - it is strictly for gags, which you would figure on if you know anything about the zany antics of now largely forgotten vaudeville team Olsen and Johnson as well as Winnie Lightner. I have to admit I knew where this film was coming from and probably where it was going given the players and even I was a bit befuddled by two guys that would marry the same girl two years apart - I mean the second guy had to look at what happened to the first guy and have second thoughts about what he was getting himself into - and then remain close friends, work together, live in adjoining apartments, and even take their honeymoons together? In today's world there's a name for what's often behind this kind of male togetherness and it involves the words "latent" and "repressed".
Then there is serial monogamist Gertie. It has always been the law that the last husband usually is left "holding the bag" as far as alimony is concerned. Gertie seems to think ex-husbands are like charms on a bracelet - if she gangs enough of them together she'll have a real income stream going, and yet it is impossible to dislike this unabashed golddigger whose cleverness and over-sized personality eclipse her rather unconventional beauty.
I'd recommend it but then I like these early 30's loud and fast Warner Bros. comedies. Do notice that the movie doesn't even have its own theme song. That tune you hear played repeatedly in the film is "The Song of the Gold Diggers" from the lost 1929 film "Gold Diggers of Broadway" which also starred Winnie Lightner. Thus this whole thing was probably one last attempt to cash in on the success of that earlier film.