Young Wives' Tale (1951)

  |  Comedy, Romance

Young Wives' Tale (1951) Poster

A post-war housing crisis leaves a shy woman to share a house with two couples. Comic situations arise as the new roomer becomes infatuated with one of the husbands.



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8 March 2018 | boblipton
| A Farce of Deception
This is a movie version of one of those brittle post-war stage farces, originally written by Ronald Jeans. Given then-current housing shortages, two couples -- Joan Greenwood & Nigel Patrick; Derek Farr & Helen Cherry -- are sharing a house. Each has one toddler, and only Miss Greenwood to work act dogsbody for the menage. Given her super-posh accent, she is an absolute flub at it, but she does get to show some athleticism as she leaps from one disaster to the next. When Miss Cherry locates a decent nanny for the children in the person of Athene Seyler, everyone thinks for a moment that the situation is saved, but for the purposes of the plot, they tell her the children are siblings, and she believes Miss Greenwood is married to Mr. Farr. The usual comedy of misconstruction ensues, carried on by speed by and the abilities of the cast. Alas, the effort never quite opens up beyond its stage origins.

Movie fans will want to see this for a sizable supporting role by Audrey Hepburn. She plays a young woman who has a room in the house and whose salient quality is she is terrified of men. Although her character connects loosely with the plot at several points, I had the distinct impression that at some stage of the movie's origins -- perhaps before the play actually opened -- the role was actually much larger. Now it is largely vestigial, even if it is the main reason the movie is remembered.

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