The Toy Wife (1938)

Passed   |    |  Drama, History, Romance


The Toy Wife (1938) Poster

The beautiful and frivolous wife of a plantation owner in antebellum Louisiana proves unsatisfactory at running the household, leading her serious-minded husband to enlist the help of her unmarried sister.


5.9/10
284

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  • Melvyn Douglas and Luise Rainer in The Toy Wife (1938)
  • Robert Young and Luise Rainer in The Toy Wife (1938)
  • Robert Young and Luise Rainer in The Toy Wife (1938)
  • Robert Young and Luise Rainer in The Toy Wife (1938)
  • Robert Young and Luise Rainer in The Toy Wife (1938)
  • Robert Young and Luise Rainer in The Toy Wife (1938)

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18 January 2010 | hrd1963-1
9
| A superb Rainer performance
Like her contemporaries, Garbo and Dietrich, the Vienesse Luise Rainer had both beauty and talent and yet, despite winning two consecutive Best Actress Oscars, failed to achieve the same level of cinematic greatness. Dissatisfied with the way MGM was handling her career, she fled Hollywood in the late 30s and, sadly, audiences today barely know of her work. Here, she had one of her better film roles as Frou-Frou, the flighty Southern Belle, indulged by a wealthy father and doting older sister and, consequently, aware of nothing but her own needs and desires. When she catches the eye of a staid lawyer (humorless Melvyn Douglas), who is charmed by her youthful joy and gaiety, she consents to marriage at the urging of the sister, who is hopeful Frou-Frou will somehow be forced to grow up, and in spite of the sister's own love for the lawyer. When the marriage fails to produce the desired outcome, and sensing the loss of her husband's affection, Frou-Frou drifts into an affair with a wealthy roué, with tragic results. Rainer gives a very fine performance as the innocently destructive Frou-Frou and is an absolutely enchanting presence on screen. With Barbara O'Neil as the more serious-minded older sister, Robert Young, bland as always as Frou-Frou's lover, and H.B. Warner, Alma Kruger and the very pretty black actress Theresa Harris (in a truly offensive role as Frou-Frou's maid. You'd have to see her in something like Miracle On 34th Street to appreciate how very different, and dignified, she really was).

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