2 February 2003 | lratchford
Marvelous acting - ponderous plot
Another ponderous example of Arzner's apparent disdain for men and marriage. (Either good men turn bad or bad men reform only through the love of a good woman.) The film does contain a few, as Billy Wilder would say, "drop the popcorn bag" moments, to its credit; but overall, it's a dark, unimaginative story, painted with the very broad strokes and heavy hand of the director.
A virtue, since Pre-Code, it treats illicit love and extra-marital affairs with a refreshing boldness; yet pre-1960s, it manages to retain that "Golden Era" emphasis on romance to the extent that its plot allows.
But the acting here is the redeeming feature. Claudette Colbert, true to form, quietly smolders as a private secretary-cum-wife caught between the romantic propositions of two businessmen. Fredric March is surprisingly convincing as both a jilted playboy and the turned-better hero. One of the most fantastic pieces of acting I've seen involves a scene between them, where married Colbert again rejects -- though with great desire to do otherwise -- his now-honorable, but extra-marital advances. The film is worth seeing just for this scene.
The supporting cast ranges widely. Owsley delivers a snicker-worthy portrayal of the "other man", but Charlie Ruggles and Ginger Rogers take in his supporting slack with hilarious style.