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  • I love the films of Ernst Lubitsch. Most are classics and I can't think of a single director in Hollywood who was making better films during the 1930s. This being said, I certainly did not love THAT UNCERTAIN FEELING and his fans would hardly recognize this as a film of the great romantic-comedy director. Most of the problem lies in the script, as the characters are generally unlikable, their motivation seems confusing and almost non-existent and the film often tries too hard to be kooky. The usual "Lubitsch touch", which is very subtle, just isn't there.

    Merle Oberon plays a petulant and annoying lady. She's rich and has every reason to be happy. However, being too rich, too bored and too self-involved, she decides she needs to spice up her "dull marriage" by bringing another man into her life. This man is a pianist over-played by Burgess Meredith. He is a misanthropic pianist--a person so conceited and cynical that it's hard to imagine anyone putting up with him. Unlike Mischa Auer's charming loafer from MY MAN GODFREY, Meredith played a man who was thoroughly unlikable. Oberon seemed to find the demanding and nasty Meredith fun, though everyone else felt he was just a jerk--and he certainly was.

    Now at first you really feel sorry for Oberon's husband (played by Melvin Douglas). Later, however, you wonder if he's an idiot because he still wants Oberon back when their marriage naturally begins to fizzle. After all, she deliberately flaunted her new "friend" in front of her husband because she felt bored and petulant. I enjoyed seeing Douglas punch Meredith on two occasions but also felt that perhaps he owed Oberon's character a couple as well! Heck, had it been me, I'd have thrown her out (possibly through a window) and not looked back.

    So, what we have is a film is about infidelity and you can't like the characters--hardly a topic for a Lubitsch comedy. While it seems that Oberon never actually gets around to sleeping with Meredith, her lack of regard for her husband made me hate the film. Selfish Oberon and unimaginably rude Meredith--two characters that kill a comedy or romance.
  • It does not give me pleasure in rating an Ernst Lubitsch film relatively low or giving a somewhat mixed to indifferent review on it. Actually love Lubitsch, who had a very distinctive style coined "the Lubitsch touch" (very much like Alfred Hitchcock being called often "The Master of Suspense" for good reason), and he made some great films. Not just the likes of 'Trouble in Paradise', but also his early films in German are well worth checking out.

    'That Uncertain Feeling' is certainly watchable for namely the production values and the cast, but it was hard to be not disappointed. One shouldn't expect every film of his to be 'Trouble in Paradise' or 'The Shop Around the Corner', but other films of Lubitsch had much smarter storytelling, more likeable characters and far wittier scripting. As sadly 'That Uncertain Feeling' is a near-failure on those departments in my view, and again this is not being said with pleasure but actually deep regret.

    Cannot fault the production values, which are very elegant all round. Lubitsch's direction does have clever moments and where his signature style shines, even though there were so many directors at the time that did romantic comedies at the time. 'That Uncertain Feeling' starts off very well, very witty and sophisticated as one kind of expects from a film directed by Lubitsch.

    All three leads do good jobs in their problematic roles. While Oberon beguiles and Meredith bringing much zany zest, the most consistent performance came from debonair and not over-compensating Douglas.

    However, the story for 'That Uncertain Feeling' is very slight structurally, is just as slight in execution and feels bland when it comes to the substance (not there). The slighter and sillier the story got, the script also runs out of steam just as badly and the wit and sophistication are replaced beggaring belief over-silliness and a trying too hard feel.

    Didn't ever care enough for any of the characters, for all of Meredith's efforts the character himself in writing does irritate greatly. None of the supporting cast really stand out, even the usually sparkling Eeve Arden here with practically nothing to do. Lubitsch's direction generally can be flabby and doesn't seem engaged enough, the early portions feel like Lubitsch but the rest is like watching a different and far sillier and more contrived and inferior film.

    Summarising, not bad but a long way from being one of the Lubitsch essentials. 5/10
  • SnoopyStyle18 February 2018
    Happily married Jill Baker (Merle Oberon) is convinced by the girls to see popular therapist Dr. Vengard over her hiccups. He digs into her marriage and she starts to have doubts about her husband Larry (Melvyn Douglas). Later, she meets pianist Alexander Sebastian (Burgess Meredith) in Vengard's waiting room.

    None of the characters are that compelling. Jill and Larry are rather bland. Alexander is off as the depressed artist. It's old fashion but honestly, the opening is almost insulting. I find it hilarious that it purports to show the Ladies room as a place where no man has gone before and this was written by two men. This is a lesser rom-com without any edge or compelling work. The humor is lacking. I actually don't mind Jill and Larry reuniting because Jill and Alexander don't make a good match either. In an aside, I can't believe that Larry does his Heil Baker during this time in history. I guess it's a joke but it's so flippant that it's disrespectful. There is also hitting woman and other backwards aspects which makes this an awkward comedy.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Neurotic society wife Merle Oberon visits psychiatrist Alan Mowbray where she meets Bohemian musician Burgess Meredith. With the state of her marriage to Melvyn Douglas on the rocks due to its predictability, Oberon takes up with the piano player while Douglas tries to win her back through subterfuge. What promises to be amusing is anything but. This is a dull "screwball" comedy that is definitely screwy but certainly not comical. Oberon is beautiful, Douglas is dashing, and Meredith is madcap, but there is no cohesion between them to engage interest or create any amusement. Even Eve Arden as a secretary is missing her usual fire thanks to a lack of humor in her dialog.

    Considering the Lubitsch touch of previous glamorous comedies, "That Uncertain Feeling" is a bomb. Even if this was meant to be a drama with comic moments, it just proves to be a boring 80 minutes of talk, talk, talk. The constant usage of "keeks" (the art of playfully poking somebody in the stomach while saying the word) is simply unfunny. The film is comparable of going to the philharmonic for a symphony and simply hearing the piano player play scales and chopsticks. Also, because this was an independent film, it's difficult to understand why the stars would choose to be in a film with such a script duller than a phone book, even if it was being directed by one of the masters of screen direction.
  • Merle Oberon and Melvyn Douglas deal with "That Uncertain Feeling," a 1941 Ernst Lubitsch film based on a Sardou play. It's actually a remake of a silent Lubitsch, "Kiss Me Again." The film also stars Burgess Meredith and Eve Arden.

    Jill Baker (Oberon) is married to a successful businessman, Larry Baker (Douglas), but after six years, the bloom is off the rose. She goes to a psychiatrist, where, in the waiting room, she meets an opinionated pianist, Alexander Sebastian (Meredith), who introduces her to the world of art and music. She becomes fascinated with the world of culture and with him. Before you know it, Oberon and Douglas are divorcing, and Oberon and Meredith become engaged.

    The best scene occurs in the divorce attorney's office, when the secretary, Sally (Eve Arden) is asked to take a letter. In reality, she's supposed to witness Larry slapping Jill to help them get their divorce.

    There are some nice things in this film, including the bright performances of the leads, particularly the beautiful Oberon, whose presence shone in many a film.

    All in all, a disappointing Lubitsch, but Oberon's charm is quite special and always worth seeing.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    First, the good news. A really first-rate pressing of this hard-to- find-a-decent-copy movie is available in the extra-cheap "Hollywood Comedy Legends" set. And now the bad news: Despite the efforts of a first-rate cast, the film is somewhat disappointing and I'm really surprised that Lubitsch regarded the movie with such affection. True, he had a really first-rate roster of players, although all of them (no doubt on Lubitsch's instructions) tend to over-act, especially Burgess Meredith.

    It's also true that the movie's screenplay presents some good comedy ideas, but they are played to death. We keep waiting for that famed Lubitsch touch, but it never really happens. The film comes across more like a photographed stage play that has been spun out to Three Acts purely for the purpose of giving audiences a run for their money. True, the director takes care to keep things moving, even when the players are not doing or saying anything really amusing, but it's simply not enough to keep audience interest at a high level.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A really good film to doze off by. This is far better than taking sleeping tablets.

    When her friends persuade her to go to a psychoanalyst for her hiccups, Merle Oberon complies and finds analyst Alan Mowbray blaming her marriage to Melvyn Douglas as the culprit. It's also there that she meets off-the-wall patient Burgess Meredith. The two pursue an affair and she soon separates from Douglas.

    The film is just too much to believe. On the rebound,Douglas starts an affair with his attorney's ditsy secretary, a very young Eve Arden.

    The film is totally unappealing and unassuming to say the least. If this is comedy, forget it!!!!!
  • Suffering from hiccups and insomnia, beautiful Manhattan socialite Merle Oberon (as Jill) feels neglected by successful insurance peddling husband Melvyn Douglas (as Larry Baker). While seeing psychoanalyst Alan Mowbray (as Vengard), Ms. Oberon meets fellow patient Burgess Meredith (as Alexander Sebastian), a troubled pianist. As Oberon and Mr. Meredith grow closer, Mr. Douglas tries "reverse psychology" to win back his wife. Meanwhile, secretary Eve Arden (as Sally Aikens) may move in on Douglas.

    This lesser Ernst Lubitsch offering was a re-make of the director's silent "Kiss Me Again" (1925), which made the critically polled "Film Daily" and "Motion Picture" magazine's annual year's best lists. Unfortunately, the original is presently a "lost" film. "That Uncertain Feeling" was a letdown after "Ninotchka" (1939) and "The Shop Around the Corner" (1940). But, it's definitely not awful. Douglas is in good form, particularly during the last act. Oberon wears some sexy outfits, especially during the early running.

    ****** That Uncertain Feeling (4/17/41) Ernst Lubitsch ~ Merle Oberon, Melvyn Douglas, Burgess Meredith, Eve Arden
  • Luke warm comedy of manners. The storyline's done with style, but needed verve gives way to too much talk. The results are more sophistication than set-ups, more occasional chuckles than laughs.

    Larry (Douglas) is a married insurance executive. Trouble is he's neglecting wife Jill (Oberon) who's having hiccup bouts, probably because his main communication is poking her playfully in the stomach. So she takes up with squirrelly Sebastian (Meredith) who's an egotistical man of the arts. Now Larry's unhappy with the results, but what's he to do.

    Oberon and Douglas both low-key their parts. Add that to a talky script and we get some good lines and situations, but mild results overall. Looks like Meredith's sour artiste was intended to supply needed verve. However, his character is too obnoxious to generate much comedy. Too bad, as other reviewers point out, that Eve Arden's comedic potential goes untapped. Some caustic exchanges between her and Meredith would have livened things up. However, two comedic set-ups do stand out: the office scene where divorce plans keep misfiring, plus the climax where Larry pretends to have a girl in his bedroom to make Jill jealous. In fact, that last scene has the vivacious earmarks of a better total comedy than what we have otherwise.

    Anyway, it's New York sophistication done Lubitsch style, even if second rank.
  • writers_reign10 February 2017
    Warning: Spoilers
    Even the great Lubitsch can't hit one out of the park every At Bat; on the other hand even bush league Lubitsch is light years ahead of Major League Hitchcock let alone the likes of Mitchell Liesen, so this lightweight entry is still worth the price of admission. Eve Arden had yet to come into her own but she still registers strongly in a supporting role whilst the three leads, Melvyn Douglas, Merle Oberon and Burgess Meredith keep things bubbling along. The plot has been around the block more than once - in this case the source material is a play by Victorien Sardou, active in French Theatre around the same time as Georges Feydeau, who had a higher international profile - but Lubitssch is still able to extract a respectable mileage out of it.
  • It has some clever dialogue, but the plot you can see coming at you from a mile away, as it is a take on "the grass is greener". Plus there is only one really likable main character - Melvyn Douglas as Larry Baker.

    After six years of marriage socialite Jill Baker is feeling quite bored. She is convinced by her equally bored Park Avenue socialite friends that she must simply go see Dr. Venguard, a psychoanalyst. Between Dr. Venguard, Jill's friends, and a complete narcissist she meets in Venguard's waiting room - Burgess Meredith as Sebastian, a pianist, she becomes convinced her marriage is on the rocks. This is all news to Larry who, although he does seem to eat and sleep the insurance business, is trying to build a better life for himself and his wife.

    Before Larry knows what has happened, he is out and Jill wants to divorce him and marry the extremely tiresome Sebastian, whom she is convinced is a genius. He tells her so every day! Eve Arden as a legal secretary steals the show when she is asked about what is going on and her opinion. She says she sees it every day. Women taken care of in high style with no worries and nothing to think about but how unhappy they think that they are.

    I wish I could make this review more inspiring, but the film itself is pleasant but uninspiring. No new ground is covered here, and the parts of it are greater than the whole. I can give kudos to Melvyn Douglas as the husband who thinks he is more clever at getting his wife back than he is, and to Burgess Meredith as somebody who thinks a great deal of himself as a musical genius but seems to have no visible means of support. Merle Oberon is lovely here and seems to have "that uncertain feeling" every step of the way. Events more than her own will seem to be propelling her forward in every instance.

    A few great memorable lines, what could be heavy melodrama turned into a very light romantic comedy Lubitsch style, and probably worth your time if you run across it, but nothing to deliberately seek out.
  • A lesser Lubitsch film that takes a while to get going but is quite a laugh once it finds it's feet. The gorgeous Merle Oberon is the spoiled wife who is convinced by her psychoanalyst - and moody pianist/lover Burgess Meredith - that her marriage to insurance executive Melvyn Douglas has run its course. Meredith is a curious piece of casting, but Oberon and Douglas hit it off.
  • "That Uncertain Feeling" doesn't make it as a very good comedy. It has a top cast of the day. The plot is both familiar and yet slightly different. A shrink convinces a woman that she is miserable in her marriage. Her husband is all business and doesn't fawn over her. A third guy enters the picture to take advantage of the situation. So, the standard movie triangle develops. But this plot doesn't seem to click as written. The screenplay is weak, and the characters just don't seem to mix well.

    I suspect that's because of the character that Burgess Meredith plays. His Alexander Sebastian is an irritable, dislikable character from the first. His movements and antics seem forced. While they were probably intended for humor, they instead just seem to annoy one. His persona is not believable as someone that Merle Oberon's Jill Baker would fall for. Then there's Oberon herself. She is definitely not at home here. She contributes almost nothing to the comedy.

    Most of the comedy is provided by Melvyn Douglas as Larry Baker. For the very short times that three supporting actors are on screen, they all contribute to the humor. Alan Mowbray is Dr. Vengard, Harry davenport is Jones and Eve Arden is Shirley. Of the main characters, Douglas is the only one who could master comedy in many films. And that shows all too well in this film.

    Oberon and Burgess were very good actors, but mostly in dramas, mystery or other films. Only toward the end of his career did Burgess show a flair for comedy. For all of her beauty and dramatic talent, Oberon's few roles with comedy were hit and miss. Without Douglas, this film would have been a total flop. With a much better screenplay and an established comedienne in the lead female role (and Franchot Tone in the love triangle), this could have been a smashing comedy.

    Here is the best of the few funny lines in the film.

    Jill Baker, "Doctor, I want to be frank with you. I'm absolutely certain there's absolutely nothing wrong with me." Dr. Vengard, "I'm sure you'll feel differently when you leave this office."

    Jones, "Now, you're the best salesman in the business. There's nothing wrong with your marriage. You just have to resell it once in a while."

    Larry Baker, "Not so easy." Jones, "Well, who said it was? Was it easy to sell hail insurance in southern California? Just find the right slant. A new one." Larry, "Selling marriage with a new slant, huh?"

    Alexander Sebastian, "Anything serious?" Larry Baker, "No, she just fainted." Sebastian, "Oh, well. Women are always fainting. Any particular reason?" Larry, "No,. no. She just thought I was a genius. Then she found out I wasn't and it was too much for her."

    Alexander Sebastian, "I am not gonna fight. My hands are my only livelihood, and I'm not gonna risk 'em on your jaw." Larry Baker, handing Sebastian smelling salts, "Here, Mozart. Wake up your little credenza."
  • whpratt128 January 2005
    Enjoyed this Classic Comedy with outstanding veteran actors who must have had fun making this film way back in the 1940's. Merle Oberon,(Mrs. Jill Baker),"A Song To Remember",'45, had problems with her hiccups whenever she got upset about things in her life and also the fact that her husband use to poke (keek) her in the stomach, which greatly annoyed her. Jill took these problems to her physician, Alan Mowbray,(Dr. Vengard)," I Wake Up Screaming",'41, who finally found out a solution for her problems. Jill Baker also runs into a crazy pianist and artist, Burgess Meredith (Alexander Sebastian),"Rocky V",'90, who seems to stop her problems with hiccups. However, Jill's husband, Melvyn Douglas (Larry Baker),"Hud",'63, begins to become curious about her relationship with this artist, pianist and all crazy and wild sorts of situations start happening through out the picture. This is definitely a Classic comedy film and if you love to see Merle Oberon act in an entirely different role, this is a good film to view and especially if you are a fan of Modern Art.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    THAT UNCERTAIN FEELING is based on a French play by Victorien Sardou. He was the leading French dramatist for most of the 19th Century, but his specialty of "the well made play" was lampooned into oblivion by later writers (most notably George Bernard Shaw, who labeled such carefully plotted works as "Sardoodledum"). Actually, like such good 20th Century dramatists as Terrance Rattigan, a really good drama can survive it's structural mechanics if the characterizations stand out to be true. Sardou's serious plays (like his historical plays) are too stiff to work today. But his lighter fare might still be able to work if up-dated.

    Lubitsch reset the story into modern New York. Melvin Douglas is married to Merle Oberon, and is a successful attorney. But their seemingly happy marriage has hit a dull spot. He is not aware of this but she is noticing his idiosyncrasies, and finding some too annoying for words: His habit of sticking his finger into her middle (playfully, of course) and saying "Keex" drives her up a wall. She tries a popular psychiatrist (Alan Mowbray, in a kind of reprise of a similar role from Lubitsch's DESIRE). Then she goes to an art gallery and meets eccentric pianist Burgess Meredith. He is a man who seems more full of sour, but honest, opinions about everything than he has musical talent. He goes from picture to picture telling Oberon what is wrong with each. "That painting won't live.", he declares of one work. Oberon, who can barely keep looking at it, says, "Thank God for that!".

    Meredith, with his sour view of most things, is soon ruining one of Douglas's business dinners (for a bunch of Hungarian businessmen, led by Sig Ruman). Douglas has a first rate Hungarian meal, complete with goulash for his guests, and even teaches - or tries to teach Oberon - to say a Hungarian toast for their guests. But Meredith dominates the evening, by insisting on playing a classical piece of piano music, and then 19 variations he has composed on it.

    Gradually Douglas tries to restore his marriage, but finds Oberon in a deep commitment to Meredith. This leads to one of the best scenes when Douglas and his partner Harry Davenport try to stage an act of cruelty against Oberon for divorce purposes. To do this they have to have Eve Arden as an unsuspecting witness to an escalating argument leading to a slap in the face. But each time Douglas can't bring himself to do it, until he basically downs two or three drinks. In the meantime Arden keeps noticing that Davenport (supposedly giving her dictation) is actually doing everything over and over again, including snapping his fingers at the moment that Douglas and Oberon are supposed to start their argument.

    The film ends with Oberon considering the good and bad points of Douglas and Meredith, to reach her conclusion about who to stay with. It is an obvious choice, perhaps, and it may seem to take her too long to decide, but the three leads give bright performances (supported by Davenport and Arden and the others). Not on the level of THE MERRY WIDOW or NINOTCHKA, but worth watching for some satisfactory chuckles.
  • gbill-7487712 November 2019
    4/10
    Dull
    A tale of the seven year itch, except the marriage has only lasted six years, and it's the wife (Merle Oberon) instead of the husband (Melvyn Douglas) who is starting to get bored. In a word, this one is dreadfully dull, and that despite legendary director Ernst Lubitsch and the radiant Oberon. It doesn't work as a romance - Douglas and Merle Oberon have no chemistry, and the pianist she takes up with (Burgess Meredith, the only one who breathes life into his part) is abrasive and unlikeable. It doesn't work as a comedy - the script is flat and unfunny, and I honestly can't think of a single moment of real cleverness. As for the Lubitsch touch, there are no signs of lightness or any kind of crackle here, just blandness and everyone involved just going through the motions. I'm the first to despise the Production Code, but I don't think we can assign the blame to it - the film the very next year from Lubitsch, 'To Be or Not to Be' was fantastic, as was 'Ninotchka' from 1939. Regardless, this is one to skip.
  • In "That Uncertain Feeling", good performances by the three lead actors give some life to a rather simplistic story. It is a mildly amusing movie, but there isn't enough to the plot or the script to make it any more than that.

    Melvyn Douglas and Merle Oberon play a married couple who seem to be reasonably content, but a chance meeting between the wife and an eccentric pianist (Burgess Meredith) suddenly threatens their whole marriage. Rather than choosing direct confrontation, the husband tries to use psychology to turn the situation in his favor, leading to some comic situations that only partially come off.

    The three leads are all pretty good, especially Meredith, who has the liveliest role. And Ernst Lubitsch directs with his usual dapper style. But there isn't really much of a story, and the behavior of the characters, while generally humorous, is too often completely implausible. So the movie is really never more than mildly entertaining.

    This will probably only be of particular interest to those who are fans of the director or one of the stars.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I read that this film was a failure at the box office, and I'm not quite sure why. Perhaps it seemed like a throw-back to those mid-1930s films where Hollywood seemed to think that the American public was obsessed with the upper class. When I first began watching, I almost turned it off because that's what I thought was coming. But I stuck with it, and I found that this is a rather pleasant comedy about a somewhat boring man who is boring his wife in their everyday life, to the point where she has an affair and the husband and wife decide to divorce...well, almost.

    Melvyn Douglas doesn't have much to do for the first third of the film...but after all, he is supposed to be boring. No, that part of the film belongs to the lovely Merle Oberon. But, Douglas' part strengthens for the remainder of the film, and he does nicely, as does Oberon as a rather spoiled wife. Who is the third side of the triangle? Burgess Meredith as a rather insufferable pianist. It's interesting to watch Meredith here. He seems strong in the scenes where he is speaking, but a little awkward in the scenes where he is silent. And, I always enjoy watching character actor Harry Davenport, who never disappoints. Eve Arden is here, also, as a secretary, but her part is crucial, though rather small.

    This probably isn't going to end up on your DVD shelf, but if you like romantic comedies from the 30s...yes, I know this came out in 1941, but it seems older...then you'll probably like this enough to watch...once.
  • The Plot.

    Against her better judgment, happily married Jill Baker is persuaded to see a popular psychoanalyst about her psychosomatic hiccups.

    Soon, she's disillusioned about husband Larry; and one day in the doctor's waiting room she meets pianist Alexander Sebastian, who's even more confused than she is.

    Can this marriage be saved?

    I suppose this is an example of a "modern-thinking" movie of the 40s. It's very dated.

    To be sure, there are some funny moments, but this is a movie where women lie about their age! Come on.
  • Cristi_Ciopron16 February 2016
    Warning: Spoilers
    An ineffable comedy with Merle Oberon, M. Douglas, Meredith, and Mowbray in a bit role, directed by Lubitsch: ageless fun, good-natured bourgeois humor, even risqué when possible (Merle explains about how she comes). The 19th century stage play has been updated, but it's still a comedy of the efficiency (as in the Hungarian party, that the pianist doesn't manage to hijack). Lubitsch sensed the possibilities of his players: of Merle, of Melvyn.

    I have certainly felt like the guest at the right party.

    M. Douglas seemed to enjoy his role, and looked more like B. Willis than like W. Powell …. (And after all, it's Melvyn in his workmanlike look.) Mowbray plays another creep: here, a psychoanalyst; he appeared, later, as the spooky colonel in a Holmes installment.
  • There's a lot of talent here: Merle Oberon, Melvyn Douglas, Burgess Meredith, Ernst Lubitsch. Where the talent was lacking was in the script. It just isn't very clever. Everyone tries their best - it was a potentially great role for Meredith - but they can only do so much with a dull script. So, while there are occasional funny moments here, the movie as a whole is pretty much a dud.

    More's the shame, since, as I said, there was so much talent here.
  • A mild romantic comedy that's atypical of Lubitsch. Merle Oberon looks gorgeous. Her clothes are sensational. Melvyn Douglas is not credible as her crass insurance-executive husband. This is the man who taught Garbo to laugh in the same director's "Ninotcha" and was generally suave and somewhat iconoclastic. As the movie proceeds, he settles into a trick-playing husband not quite consistent with the man who've first met.

    Burgess Meredith is sort of wasted as the annoying pianist Oberon meets in a psychiatrist's waiting room. (Alan Mowbry is hilariously dry as the analyst. And in some ways, this is a comment on psychoanalysis.) The Meredith character is the most interest. It is a very convincing study in absolute narcissism. He may be accomplished, indeed; but whether he is or not, he is his own greatest fan and protector.

    There are swipes at modern art as well as those at analysis. In some ways, it's a little retrograde.

    But it's beautifully shot and the design is fabulous. This is the New York City we'd all love to live in. And Oberon looks ravishing. Her performance is convincingly comic, too, though she is so match for Eve Arden in an all too small role.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Clever updating of Victorien Sardou's comic masterpiece 'Cyprienne' of 1880 and a reworking of the director's own silent-era adaptation of 1925, 'Kiss Me Again' (now lost). Lubitsch touches abound, despite generally churlish criticism of 'That Uncertain Feeling' since it's release in 1941. It seems that audiences have not appreciated the broader, farcical elements, reflecting the style and tone of the original play, that are an integral part of this neglected Lubitsch gem.

    Even the numerous detractors of this delightful film - who feel that it somehow misses the fabled 'touch' - do still feel obliged to enumerate the many happy contrivances which the great director elegantly accomplishes here. I won't spoil the film for those who have not yet enjoyed the treat, but any honest viewing will confirm that the stylish acting and delicious wit displayed in TUF do put to shame most contemporary comedy.

    There is an abundance of talent on show here to make us glad: Only a character as impossible as Alexander Sebastian, with his determination to be impressed by nothing and nobody but himself, could possibly dismiss this highly amusing film with the casually contemptuous 'Phooey!' that is so typical of that ridiculous fellow.

    Amidst the humour, this marital farce can really needle, as witness the husband's annoying treatment of his wife by habitually poking her in the ribs with an index finger and the accompanying would-be-droll vocalisation of 'Keeks!'

    The Freudian finger tends to provoke attacks of the hiccups in Mrs Baker, which psychosomatic complaint takes her to the psychiatrist, and a surprisingly therapeutic waiting-room confrontation with the aforementioned eccentric pianist Alexander Sebastian. A fling then ensues more beneficial to Mrs Baker than her one and only plodding analysis session.

    We are now launched into some deliciously Mozartian mischief, by means of which the Baker's marriage is saved.

    Some strange words are uttered during the course of events, like comic incantations.

    For instance, a marvellous conversational riot of Hungarian bonhomie is unleashed at the Baker's dinner-table, when the magic word 'Egészségedre!' - pronounced Egg-e-sheg-e-dra and meaning 'Cheers!' - is employed by the host's wife to ingratiate his prospective business partners, Hungarian mattress manufacturers and furniture salesmen whom the Bakers are entertaining along with their wives: The precise meaning of the unleashed flood of Hungarian words doesn't matter, and remains incomprehensible except insofar as it so obviously celebrates simple human good-fellowship.The scene magically conjures up just the domestic bliss missing from the Baker menage - now unhappily a trois.

    Then there is the 'Keeks!' which as a punning intertitle announces ' - - - has gone out of the marriage.'

    Mr Baker has deliberately and with enthusiasm acceded to a divorce, realising that the piano-player will not like to find himself conforming to the role of husband, nor the wife to suffer the spectacle of hubby's renewed bachelor affairs. To become the 'named individual' in resolving the love-triangle by initiating divorce proceedings Mr Baker must contrive to slap his estranged wife's face before a witness at the solicitor's office: He finds it so difficult to accomplish this faked outrage that Mrs Baker is immediately reconciled: The smart slap is transfigured into the committed loving gesture that expunges and heals the injury of the inconsiderate and unfeeling light drollery of 'Keeks!' - that Mrs Baker found so depressing that it was the cause of the separation: 'He had to get drunk to do it' she says, happily recognising his renewed committment.

    Additionally, the sly insinuation of the husband's reprehended dig-in-the-ribs - always more suitable for all-male locker-room joshing - into the amatory repertoire of the precious and annoying Alexander Sebastian absolutely clinches the marital deal for Mr Baker, as well as the resolution of the comic drama: As Mr Freud might say, in the person of the ineffective psychiatrist at the outset of the marital crisis, a transference has taken place, the latest and most significant, whereby an unconscious redirection of feelings has taken place from one person to another - that is to say, in this case, of Mrs Baker's feelings from the fellow whom she now perceives to be her intolerably selfish piano-playing fling and back towards her redeemed and grateful husband.

    Such witty and life-affirming prestidigitation with language and action is pretty brilliant wit, it seems to me, and as eminently worthy of admiration as the rest of Lubitch's delightful quicksilver touch.

    A true comedy, this, then, being a joyous celebration of the more hopeful side of life: 'Egészségedre!' indeed.
  • Just a quick observation: It is my impression that the reason TUF is such a neglected gem appears to be the unwillingness of audiences, both in 1941 and to this day, to accept Lubitsch's melding of his own European style with the then-popular American 'screwball comedy' genre. I don't think either the ordinary American audiences who liked their comedy broader, or the European audiences - along with intellectual sophisticates in the US - ever understood, and certainly never accepted, this hybrid.

    I think that's a shame, because I like the film, and find it both witty and hilarious, and abundantly blessed with the sort of intelligence and polish which makes Lubitsch films a sheer delight.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Clever updating of Victorien Sardou's comic masterpiece 'Cyprienne' of 1880 and a reworking of the director's own silent-era adaptation of 1925, 'Kiss Me Again' (now lost). Lubitsch touches abound, despite generally churlish criticism of 'That Uncertain Feeling' since it's release in 1941. It seems that audiences have not appreciated the broader, farcical elements, reflecting the style and tone of the original play, that are an integral part of this neglected Lubitsch gem.

    Even the numerous detractors of this delightful film - who feel that it somehow misses the fabled 'touch' - do still feel obliged to enumerate the many happy contrivances which the great director elegantly accomplishes here. I won't spoil the film for those who have not yet enjoyed the treat, but any honest viewing will confirm that the stylish acting and delicious wit displayed in TUF do put to shame most contemporary comedy.

    There is an abundance of talent on show here to make us glad: Only a character as impossible as Alexander Sebastian, with his determination to be impressed by nothing and nobody but himself, could possibly dismiss this highly amusing film with the casually contemptuous 'Phooey!' that is so typical of that ridiculous fellow.

    Amidst the humour, this marital farce can really needle, as witness the husband's annoying treatment of his wife by habitually poking her in the ribs with an index finger and the accompanying would-be-droll vocalisation of 'Keeks!'

    The Freudian finger tends to provoke attacks of the hiccups in Mrs Baker, which psychosomatic complaint takes her to the psychiatrist, and a surprisingly therapeutic waiting-room confrontation with the aforementioned eccentric pianist Alexander Sebastian. A fling then ensues more beneficial to Mrs Baker than her one and only plodding analysis session.

    We are now launched into some deliciously Mozartian mischief, by means of which the Baker's marriage is saved.

    Some strange words are uttered during the course of events, like comic incantations.

    For instance, a marvellous conversational riot of Hungarian bonhomie is unleashed at the Baker's dinner-table, when the magic word 'Egészségedre!' - pronounced Egg-e-sheg-e-dra and meaning 'Cheers!' - is employed by the host's wife to ingratiate his prospective business partners, Hungarian mattress manufacturers and furniture salesmen whom the Bakers are entertaining along with their wives: The precise meaning of the unleashed flood of Hungarian words doesn't matter, and remains incomprehensible except insofar as it so obviously celebrates simple human good-fellowship. The scene magically conjures up just that ordinary domestic bliss missing from the Baker menage - now unhappily a trois.

    Then there is the 'Keeks!' which as a punning intertitle announces ' - - - has gone out of the marriage.'

    Mr Baker has deliberately and with enthusiasm acceded to a divorce, realising that the piano-player will not like to find himself conforming to the role of husband, nor the wife to suffer the spectacle of hubby's renewed bachelor affairs. To become the 'named individual' in resolving the love-triangle by initiating divorce proceedings Mr Baker must contrive to slap his estranged wife's face before a witness at the solicitor's office: He finds it so difficult to accomplish this faked outrage that Mrs Baker is immediately reconciled: The smart slap is transfigured into the committed loving gesture that expunges and heals the injury of the inconsiderate and unfeeling light drollery of 'Keeks!' - that Mrs Baker found so depressing that it was the cause of the separation: 'He had to get drunk to do it' she says, happily recognising his renewed committment.

    Additionally, the sly insinuation of the husband's reprehended dig-in-the-ribs - always more suitable for all-male locker-room joshing - into the amatory repertoire of the precious and annoying Alexander Sebastian absolutely clinches the marital deal for Mr Baker, as well as the resolution of the comic drama: As Mr Freud might say, in the person of the ineffective psychiatrist at the outset of the marital crisis, a transference has taken place, the latest and most significant, whereby an unconscious redirection of feelings has taken place from one person to another - that is to say, in this case, of Mrs Baker's feelings from the fellow whom she now perceives to be her intolerably selfish piano-playing fling and back towards her redeemed and grateful husband.

    Such witty and life-affirming prestidigitation with language and action is pretty brilliant wit, it seems to me, and as eminently worthy of admiration as the rest of Lubitch's delightful quicksilver touch.

    A true comedy, this, then, being a joyous celebration of the more hopeful side of life: 'Egészségedre!' indeed.
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