13 April 2018 | boblipton
Too Wise For Their Own Good
Mae Clarke works as a secretary to divorce lawyer John Halliday. When her apartment mate Una Merkel smells gas, Miss Clarke finds that the pregnant woman in the next apartment, who has been abandoned by her husband has tried to kill herself. Miss Clarke smashes the window and summons an ambulance. Doctor Lew Ayres shows up and they soon fall in love, but he's years from being able to marry, and she's seen too much of failed marriage, so they part.
It's a depressing soap opera for the Depression, and everyone hits the right notes. Director James Whale seems to have been trying for a British stiff-upper-lip attitude among the characters, but it offers an air of anomie and helplessness, as does the decision to have DP Arthur Edeson run a lot of traveling shots right through walls in a god-like and uncaring fashion. Perhaps it's that dispassionate attitude that made this movie less than compelling; if the characters viewed their own lives as machines to be run for optimal living, regardless of how they felt, how can the audience invest anything more than a vague pity in these poor fools?