6 July 2017 | doncharlespianoman
This is a real sleeper--in more ways than one.
Can this marriage be saved, despite intense jealousy, mistrust, elaborate deceptions and prevarications? (Well, what would anyone expect in a sex farce?) I first saw this film circa 1970 when a Washington, DC television station aired it, along with several other early-thirties "pre-code" films, as part of its "Cinema Club 9" weekend program. I had always wanted to see it again, because I wasn't sure I had interpreted two key scenes correctly. (Perhaps some ambiguity was intended by the author of the play upon which the film is based, or by the film makers.) I was very pleased when TCM "premiered" the film in late 2016; and, I hope, for those who haven't seen it, they will run it again. The script is very amusing, clever and provocative; and, the acting is excellent. Roland Young plays the jealous husband, Arthur, who goes to extraordinary lengths to keep his wife from becoming seduced by shipboard Lotharios. Genevieve Tobin is especially wonderful playing her character, Shirley, as the innocent, virtuous and truthful wife; and, she is equally wonderful playing Shirley later in the film when she is . . . well, watch the film and see for yourself. Most insightful line (and key to the development of the unexpected ending): Shirley's friend, Judy (played by Minna Gombell), when she advises Shirley, "Any man will believe an explanation if it's flattering enough." Some viewers may find disturbing some of the events in the last reel, but for different reasons. The next time this film comes around on TCM's schedule, make an effort to see it, and make your own judgments. However, by all means, don't read TCM's synopsis, which not only spoils the surprises, but also (I believe) contains a gross error.