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.
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