20 September 2008 | MartinHafer
For a Post-Code film, it sure has the look of a Pre-Code picture!
In 1934, a newer strengthened Production Code was put in place. Hollywood had agreed to clean up its act--removing nudity, adultery, bawdy language and excessively violent behavior from its films. During the rest of the 30s, divorce, for example, was hardly ever mentioned. In light of this, it was very surprising that SECRETS OF AN ACTRESS got the go ahead light. This film is about a new Broadway star (Kay Francis) and the men who love her (Ian Hunter and George Brent). In particular, she loves Brent, though she doesn't realize he's already married. To make this more palatable to the censors, they pointed out that Brent's wife didn't love him, was holding on to him for his money and that they'd been separated for several years. This was perhaps the only way the divorce angle could enter the film, though it also tended to make the film seem a bit contrived and impossible.
Overall, the film is entertaining though also very predictable. The stars do a decent enough job, though the less than outstanding plot and the god-awful character of Miss Plantagenet (who was like a walking migraine every time she appeared on screen) did a lot to sink this film to the mediocre level.