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  • Four years before "I Love Lucy", Lucille Ball had not yet found her niche as a movie star. Films had mostly typecast her as a hard boiled dame, and while she was called "Queen of the B's", she was not yet a household name. In this film, her first chance to show her talent as a comedienne, Lucy plays the wife of advertising exec Franchot Tone (real-life ex-husband of Joan Crawford). Lucy inspires her husband at every turn, eventually getting him attention as the man who advertised the most comfortable hat in the world. (So comfortable, in fact, a mayor was booed for wearing a hat during the Star Spangled Banner at a ballgame when he had no idea he was wearing one...) A wacky scientist convinces him to advertise a shaving and hair tonic which ends up causing more than its share of chaos.

    While Lucy had done comedy before on-screen ("Go Chase Yourself" and "A Girl, A Guy, and a Gob" were typical RKO comedys of the late 30's and early 40's), she never had a chance to really be anything more than a hard-boiled wisecracker. These movies make her less likable than the equally wisecracking Eve Arden and did not portray her in a positive or feminine light. When both Eve and Lucy went onto do radio shows, their future as the first queens of primetime TV comedy were set in stone. (Check out Lucy and Eve in the drama with wisecracks, "Stage Door", and the entertaining comedy "Having Wonderful Time", both starring the more glamorous wisecracker, Ginger Rogers).

    "Her Husband's Affairs" is a fast moving, but formula comedy, filled with some hysterical comic bits, but not as well done as her best pre-TV comedy, "The Fuller Brush Girl". Both films involve comic sequences involving hair. While "The Fuller Brush Girl" is hysterical throughout, there are only fleeting moments of hysterical laughter in this film (most memorably the scene where the defects of the shaving lotion is revealed). This film was made during her declining days at MGM at the then not yet major Columbia studios where Jean Arthur reigned as comedy queen and probably turned this film down before departing a few years before it was released. Shabbily treated by L.B. Mayer after some colorful "A" musicals, Lucy ended up on the bottom of the bill in secondary features such as this. The film features such great character actors as Grant Mitchell and Edward Everett Horton (here quite bald). Featured in a cameo is Columbia's biggest star Larry Parks as himself. "Her Husband's Wife" is sure to entertain as an example of what Lucy was really good at. If only the script was a little better.
  • This somewhat black comedy is from the pen of Ben Hecht and may remind you a bit of his classic NOTHING SACRED although it's more in the tone of the Hepburn & Tracy films. Lucille Ball stars as a newlywed, newly retired from a successful career writing ad copy but now "just married" to her former co-worker Franchot Tone. Trouble is Tone was never quite the "ad man" his wife was and is hell bent to prove his worth to the company. When an eccentric scientist friend of his invents a new embalming fluid (to turn corpses into permanent glass statues!) he mentions as a side note, it can also be used for an "instant shave" on facial hair. Tone sees this use as his ticket to success and fortune and promotes it in a big time product premiere inviting dignities and the famous (including actor Larry Parks in a cameo as himself) to try the product. They all rave about it but the trouble is that it GROWS hair thicker and worse than before within 24 hours. The day after is a major fiasco for the corporation but it's Lucy to the rescue as she cleverly points out this "new" turn is perhaps an even bigger market - selling it to men bald or with thinning hair - and a new campaign starts much to her husband's irritation. (This particular plot twist the viewer can see miles away given supporting actor Edward Everett Horton is fitted with a very phony looking skull cap to play bald for the first several reels. You can see the edges lines of it on the small screen, can't imagine how obvious it was on the big screen). Determined to be back in the driver's seat, Franchot plots more behind the scene maneuvers which ends up having him on trial for the presumed murder of the professor.

    The comedy is hit and miss but Lucy is always excellent and she looks a vision in some very attractive fashions. Tone is over the top at times but does well, the trouble is the brazen sexism of his character is more than a little unpleasant to latter-day viewers and likely to more than a few 1940's ones as well. There's also delicious irony with the movie's theme that Lucy is far more talented than he as "ad man" as the movie starts off with Tone twiddling with lots of unfunny shtick as he plots out his newest ad copy while that goes on for several minutes but Lucy merely raises her eyebrow in sleepy exhaustion as is far funnier showing - to no surprise of course - she's also his superior as a comic and an actor. Among the supporting cast Columbia character contractee Nana Bryant stands out as a socialite who can't help but take a discreet dip in the miracle product during it's premiere to rid herself of a touch of facial hair and lives to regret it.
  • Lucy had a bit part in Franchot Tone's "Moulin Rouge" ten years prior to this film, but this time she gets the female starring role up against Tone. Right from the beginning of "Her Husband's Affairs", we see that William Weldon (Tone) gets himself into jams, and wife Margaret (Lucy) has to get him out of them every time. William's boss JB, is the awesome Edward E. Horton, made up to look quite old and bald. (Viewers will recognize Horton's effeminate, whining, voice from Fractured Fairy Tales and all those Fred Astaire films.) Our story seems to be an early version of the TV show "Bewitched", where hubby is an advertising man, and relies on the wife's quick thinking to save him. When one of the products they are involved with causes a major crisis, they must figure out a solution quickly before the newspapers get there to take pictures. Lucy had been getting starring roles for a few years now, and she does just fine in this lightweight one. The second half of the picture takes place in a courtroom, and feels like an episode of I Love Lucy (Oh Fred!)...Gene Lockhart is here as Mr. Winterbottom. Also look for a 13 year old Dwayne Hickman (played in his own show "Dobie Gillis") in the laboratory scene. Directed by Sylvan Simon, who died at age 41, just a couple years after this project. No big surprises here, but we get a fun, early look at Lucy being Lucy just a couple years before her TV show.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Lucille Ball tries to be funny but she really can't be given the written material that she is given to work with. In fact, it's really pathetic. Franchot Tone co-stars and proves that he certainly was not adept at comedy.

    As a husband and wife advertising team, they are always bound for Bermuda until something comes along to thwart the long delayed honeymoon. In this case, the thwarting may be attributed to the writing here.

    The inane subject dealing with a hair removal, hair add-on for bald individuals and a glass-like flower are just a little too much to contend with. Then, there is the plot where the scientist making these inventions is supposedly killed and Tone is blamed for the murder.

    I guess that Larry Parks had to do this film contractually. Fortunately, his appearance his brief. Not a great encore for the Jolson star.
  • There's a lot of the Lucy Ricardo personality in the wife LUCILLE BALL plays in HER HUSBAND'S AFFAIRS--only here the husband who gets exasperated with her brainstorms is FRANCHOT TONE. It starts out with an amusing idea about a scientist MIKHAIL RAHSUMNY whose embalming lotion can be used to remove beards without shaving. It does so very efficiently until several hours have passed--and then it grows abundant amounts of hair.

    FRANCHOT TONE is an advertising man who thinks he's going to have some successful products to launch with the help of the mad scientist, except that most of the plans go haywire thanks to the manipulations of his scatterbrained wife. The plot fizzles out after the first half-hour or so and after that it just gets sillier until the courtroom ending when things finally get straightened out in time for a happy ending.

    Summing up: Below average vehicle for Lucy five years before she made her big splash on TV as an even more troublesome wife in America's most beloved situation comedy I LOVE LUCY. Some laughs but the jokes wear thin long before the conclusion.

    Trivia note: LARRY PARKS has a bit part as himself in a scene where various big shots gather to try the new product.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A witty, amusing, highly novel and really ingenious comedy which takes a somewhat mordant view of the marriage relationship, big business, advertising and politics. True, it runs right off the rails so far as credibility is concerned about halfway through when its gets progressively wilder and wilder and further and further way-out. There are doubtless many viewers who would wish that the movie had carried on with the splendid satire of high pressure advertising salesmanship with which the first half of the movie is primarily concerned and which is fully integrated with a biting look at modern marriage and women's place. It's amazing that the film anticipates the pressures and strains caused in a marriage by women's lib (though of course this name is not used) in which it is 25 years ahead of its time.

    The casting is perfect. Franchot Tone is just right as the advertising executive who objects to his wife helping him in his business and Lucille Ball is ideal as the wife who just can't help lending some able assistance to rescue hubby from an apparent jam. Edward Everett Horton, making a surprise appearance in the earlier scenes (the reason for this is evident later on) gives a delightful portrayal as the advertising agency chief, while Gene Lockhart is a joy as "a man of instant action" tycoon. There's also an agreeable array of character players including Selmar Jackson and Charles Trowbridge brought face to face as judge and defense attorney respectively. Arhur Space is the prosecutor, Jonathan Hale, the governor, Pierre Watkin, a member of Lockhart's board, Robert Emmett Keane, the sarcastic manager of a ticket agency, Mabel Paige, a nosy neighbor, Douglas Wood, the hat manufacturer, while Larry Parks makes a cameo appearance as himself. As the crazy inventor, Emil, Mikhail Rasumny is a joy even if he is chiefly responsible for the plot running right off the rails! Sylvan Simon's direction is very slick, as usual, putting the comedy across with unobtrusively professional skill. I almost forgot to mention, the movie's delightfully crazy introduction that has Franchot Tone weighing hats! By Columbia's standards, production values are exceptionally lavish. In view of the movie's indifferent performance at the box office, this must have been rather mortifying for producer Andre Hakim after his fine work in assembling such a top cast and engaging a really first rate crew headed by Charles Lawton on photography. The sets, costumes and music scoring are first class and the cast list, as noted by IMDb, is as long as your arm!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Yes, I actually found this film annoying, particularly early on. But, I stuck with it because it has a strong cast.

    I've always though Franchot Tone to be an undervalued actor. Unfortunately, here, his character is just plain annoying, and clearly Tone is far more suited to drama. Lucille Ball was yet to come into her own, her television series still off a few years. I found her annoying here, also, although she had done rather nicely as a supporting actress in a number of other roles prior to this. The key supporting actor here is Edward Everett Horton, who essentially plays Edward Everett Horton...which he fine...he's always a hoot.

    The plot had possibilities. A husband and wife who do love each other always seem to end up squabbling because she has a lot of good ideas to supplement his profession -- an ad executive. But, he resents her interference. Then along comes a hair remover...which backfires and grows hair profusely after first dissolving the hair that was already there. There are some funny moments here, but overall it seems to be a grand opportunity for over-acting and hysteria. Please, Mr. Director, take a Paxil! It was often said that Columbia Pictures knew how to do comedy. There's an exception to every rule. What was supposed to be screwball comedy turned out to just be kinda dumb. As I said at the beginning, I stuck with this film till the end...and I wish I hadn't.
  • "Her Husband's Affairs" is not a very good film. It also has an incredibly sexist message that must have ticked off many in the audience when they went to see this picture, as its underlying message is that wives should keep their mouths shut and let the man do all the thinking...even if he's wrong!!

    The basic idea behind the film could have been great...but wasn't handled especially well...sexist message or not. Bill (Franchot Tone) is an advertising executive and his wife (Lucille Ball) often has great ideas. In the midst of making a very successful campaign for hats (thanks in large part to the wife) his goofy neighbor, a crackpot inventor, shows him his new invention. It seems this cream instantly cleans off whiskers. With no scientific testing to see if it really works AND if it has any negative side-effects, a multi-million dollar campaign is initiated....and only a day later do they learn that instead of removing hair, it creates lush hair overnight! There's more to the dopey invention than this...but by that point my patience was gone. I just wanted this incredibly bad film to end!! This is tough, however, as the film got progressively worse.

    The bottom line is that this movie comes off like a very bad sitcom...very bad. The story goes everywhere...too many places. It also has lots of folks getting upset and acting like caricatures instead of real folks. Pretty well as incredibly sexist.