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  • ...but a pretty good effort considering it was early in the production code era. Ann Harding plays Anne Talbot, elegant beautiful wife of Dr. Michael Talbot (Herbert Marshall), esteemed physician. He and his wife seem to get along well together, neither ignores the other, it seems like a perfect marriage. AND YET, when Gerry Mannerly (Margaret Lindsay)comes along, a bold brash sportswoman who goes after what she wants, Dr. Talbot becomes mush in her hands. When he abruptly kisses her on their first meeting, he even tells his wife about it. She treats it like a joke. Not because she doesn't love Michael or see his worth, but because that is the kind of easy going and trusting wife she is. Bad choice on Anne's part.

    Dr. Talbot falls in love with Gerry, and asks Anne for a divorce. Yet Anne is the one who moves out into a rather cramped apartment, Anne is the one who refuses alimony, and when shrewish Gerry invites her to the wedding, she goes.

    As soon as the "I dos" are said in Dr. Talbot's second marriage, Gerry begins to change everything. She throws out all of the old furniture and puts in new furniture. Out with Michael's old friends and in with hers, even out with Michael's dad, who still adores Anne. As for being the supportive wife of a doctor in an era when doctors' wives were supposed to understand the unpredictability of a doctor's schedule, nothing comes before Gerry's social life.

    In the meantime, Ann still lends a shoulder to her ex when he needs one, although she is being relentlessly pursued by a rather drab fellow whom she considers a friend and nothing else (Walter Abel as Stanley Ashton).

    Ann Harding here is playing the kind of person for whom love is a two way street and she is getting run over in both directions, yet she is nothing but smiles. Herbert Marshall, usually playing the clear headed guy acts like a complete idiot when it comes to Gerry's obvious manipulation and throwing away such a great bird in hand in Anne. The biggest problem I had with this film was figuring out his motivation. How could he allow himself to be duped like this when he could definitely not say that the grass was greener?

    The best performance here is given by Margaret Lindsay, usually playing the good girl over at Warner Brothers, but in this film is a completely unlikable and even transparent villain in a totally believable performance. Honorable mention has to go to Edward Ellis as Jim Talbot, Michael Talbot's no nonsense dad.

    How can anything good come out of this in the production code era that demands a just ending? Watch and find out, mainly for the performances.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    By 1935 Ann Harding's star had diminished because of too many sudsy movies - even her fine performance in "Peter Ibbetson" couldn't stem the unpopularity. To finish up her RKO contract she starred in "The Lady Consents", a sophisticated comedy drama that holds up very well. It was a return to the old Ann Harding - the Ann of "The Animal Kingdom" and "When Ladies Meet".

    Based on the story "The Indestructible Mrs. Talbot" by P.J. Wolfson (how the public would have run from that title), the plot involves a middle class doctor, Michael Talbot (Herbert Marshall), who after seven years of marriage with Ann (Ann Harding) suddenly finds himself attracted to elite sports woman Jerry (Margaret Lindsay). It's hard to understand why - she has the personality of a rattle snake but it all has to do with the "7 year itch" syndrome, I suppose. He even neglects to meet his father's boat because he is having lunch with her - never mind, good egg Ann is on hand to welcome his father plus fleece some of his cronies shooting craps!! That's what I love about Ann Harding, for all her elegance and regal beauty, she does not look out of place playing dice, shooting pool and even drinking beer out of a can!! Jerry is a predator who has set her cap at Michael with a view to marriage and prestige - she even invites Ann to the wedding to show (as she says) that "women can be civilized about such things" and also to gloat a little. Edward Ellis almost steals the movie as Michael's cranky, cigar chomping father, Jim, who is not fooled by Jerry's phoniness.

    Once they are married even dopey Michael is repelled by her coldness and selfishness - when Michael's friend dies from an appendectomy, she rejects him and his "wanting to talk about things", more concerned with her tennis match the next day. Jim is always ready for a talk but he finds the house increasingly uncomfortable as Jerry indulges in her "keeping up with the Jones" manner - she also makes no secret of the fact that she doesn't want him around. No matter, Jim knows he can always be himself at Ann's and there will always be canned beer in the fridge. My favourite scene has to be when Michael visits Ann on Christmas Eve and they rekindle their affection during an evening revisiting favourite tunes on the piano - a montage of sheet music flashes on the screen - "The Continental", "I Love You So Much", "Paradise" (all from RKO films of course). It takes a fatal accident to bring Michael to his senses but, of course, it is up to Ann (who has never stopped loving him) to concoct a trap for Jerry (who vows never to divorce him) to fall into.

    Margaret Lindsay is just super as Jerry who is all calculation. She should have been given more chances like this, instead of all those "good girl" roles. Walter Abel, at the start of his career, is pretty good as Ashton, the man always destined to wait in the wings.

    Highly Recommended.
  • Really, how much of these noble suffering roles could Ann Harding take without puking? It isn't simply a matter of typecasting; often typecasting, particularly for stars in the studio period was simply a matter of finding a good compromise between their talents and the sort of vehicle the public would accept. And assuredly, Miss Harding could carry this sort of superior suffering with a great deal of class.

    I suppose the way to handle this is the way director Stephen Roberts did: make sure that the supporting actors are amusing. Edward Ellis, best known for his role as the eponymous murder victim in THE THIN MAN is utterly charming as Harding's father-in-law, and Walter Abel's cohort of tipsy gamblers are also amusing. This was a strength of Mr. Roberts' directing. It is a pity he died the year this was released as Hollywood lost a talented director in him.

    In terms of story, this seems like a cross between THEODORA GOES WILD and THE WOMEN. If you're not overloaded on Ann Harding movies you should enjoy it greatly. Even if you are, the supporting talent makes it worthwhile.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In some ways I really liked this film, and in other ways not so much.

    I thought both the beginning (about 14 minutes) and ending (a couple of minutes) were very weak. The reason I didn't like the beginning was that it started out as one of the many Depression Era films where we were going to have to watch a bunch of rich elites act foolish. The reason I didn't like the ending was that the errant husband got off the hook waaaaaaaaaaaay to easy, and if you watched just the last couple of minutes, you might have assumed the film was a comedy...which it wasn't.

    Okay, so putting those roughly 15 minutes aside, I really liked this film, and mostly because of some very strong performances.

    Let's start out with the 2 leading actors. I've always enjoyed Herbert Marshall, and he was excellent here, as usual. This was when he was still a leading man type, rather than the later character actor we came to know. His leading lady, Ann Harding, was excellent here, as well. Despite all the old movies I've watched, I haven't given enough attention to Ann Harding.

    I also wasn't very familiar with Margaret Lindsay, who completes the romantic triangle. I wasn't as impressed by her as I was with Marshall and Harding, but she did reasonably well here.

    Walter Abel, as "the other man" in Harding's character's life, has long been a favorite of mine. Sometimes he was more a light comedy actor, but here it is a romantic character. I enjoyed his performance here.

    Edward Ellis as Marshall's father here absolutely steals the show. What a charmer in that crusty old way. I've noticed him as a character actor before, but he really stands out here.

    I give this film a strong "7", despite the beginning and very ending.
  • To be frank considering their performance it could have been a bit more, but all others except Margaret pulled it all down, and the worst was the direction. The plot is not too unpredictable - there is a happily married couple in the midts of which thoroughly ruthless- probably cruel and sadist is a correct term to add to that - and scheming woman Jerry lands up and in her first meeting itself alienates the husband from wife. Well with that type of husband, I don't suppose any wife would like to go back for future and likely repetible mishaps of this kind, but being under code and also to have the soap coefficient she does. How to manage the current wife into becoming ex-wife is too silly to think of, as was anyway her scheme to become a wife itself. The woman is a celebrity (as introduced), a champion sportswoman - and quite definitely socialite - and must be one of means too,, though not told explicitly, but to be mocing around, playing those championships do cost money. And with her media exposure, and popularity, and looks, one could hardly believe when she said "I didn't marry you for money, or looks" is understandable "But you are the best I could get my hands on" is certainly not, and then trying to prove her a gld digger when she left him, for his alimony payments ? Unbelievable of course one have to think of his first wife-about to be third one and her situation, since he would have to still pay alimony to one of the wives, the second one in this case. It won't have been so bad considering Ann, unfortunately typecast into soaps of this type - there and a couple of good performances by Lindsay and Ellis but all others were quite thoroughly rotten, including Abel as the constant suitor, they weren't convincing, and almost wooden, including Herbert.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Of all the Forgotten Leading Ladies of the 1930s, Ann Harding is one who has not seemed to have made a comeback. She was certainly charming and lovely, and could play long suffering quite well. But her nobleness I would think so but was never truly believable, thanks to formula scripts of which this RKO soap opera possesses in spades. She is a writer married to doctor Herbert Marshall who falls for the peppy Margaret Lindsay, and easily grants him a divorce so he can marry Lindsay. parting even shows up on their wedding day to wish them well, and it is apparent that the feelings between them have not ended. Harding is sincere, but too good to be true, while Lindsay (who played many noble women in other films) comes off like Harding's contemporary, Kay Francis, in the much better "In Name Only".

    Giving a strong performance as Marshall's father who truly loves Harding as if she were his daughter, Edward Ellis is strong and commanding, especially standing up to Lindsey whose character he despises. Walter Abel is the man who tries to distract Harding after her divorce is final, but fades into the background because of Ellis's strong presence. The script alternates between light comedy and maudlin drama, culminating in a shocking twist involving Ellis's character.

    Kay Francis, a leading lady forgotten for years, has made a comeback thanks to TCM and the number of genuine classics she made, but perhaps because Harding's pictures are all quite similar, they have ended up mainly forgotten except by the most devoted of fans. The RKO gloss is prevalent but it is formulas through and through. It is thetype of film you can watch for the first time, and be sure that you have seen it before. It is a noble attempt toshow the power of true love as it really is between people who genuinely love and understand each other, but it doesn't really stand the test of time.
  • I have been married nearly 32 years. And, if my wife had cheated on me, I certainly would NOT have handled it the way Anne did in "The Lady Consents" fact, I can't imagine anyone handling it quite this way.

    When the story begins, Dr. Talbot (Herbert Marshall) is trying to ride a very unruly horse he owns. He isn't very successful and a brash lady (Margaret Lindsay) insists she can tame the horse. Seconds later, she's unconscious and the lady awakens a bit later, bruised but otherwise fine. Then, out of the blue, the pair kiss...which is odd since the Doctor is married. He then informs the lady...and tells his wife (Ann Harding) as well. The wife, ever the understanding woman, says he shouldn't worry about it. However, soon the Doc and this new woman are a number...and the wife doesn't do anything...hoping this affair will run its course. Well, it doesn't and soon the Doc and his wife divorce so that he can marry this new woman. Will it all work itself out or not?

    It seems very tough to believe the wife's actions in the film. She not only isn't angry, but excuses her husband's infidelity and informs him that what's most important is that HE is happy! She even goes so far as to say "He didn't want to fall in love with her...those things just happen"! Could this get any worse? Yep, the ex-wife goes to the wedding...just to show everyone how 'civilized women behave'! Very restrained and 'sophisticated' but hardly realistic.

    So is this any good? Well, the acting certainly is and it's hard to hate any film with actors like these. But the story is a disappointment in many ways. It's not just that the wife is ridiculously understanding and decent, but that you also KNOW that the Doctor can't be happy with the new wife since it's a film made under the Production Code. And, the Code was strongly against adultery and insisted it had to be punished...eventually. So, the new wife ended up being extremely selfish and clueless. Odd, however, that the script somehow absolved the husband of his misbehavior despite all this.

    By the way, I really liked Edward Ellis in the film as the Doctor's father. While clearly a supporting player, he was very enjoyable to watch and was the unofficial voice of reason throughout much of the story.