Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Ty Power and Linda Darnell
DAY-TIME WIFE (1939). Director: Gregory Ratoff.

"That's marriage -- if you're happy there's nothing better; if you're unhappy there's nothing worse."

Jane Norton (Linda Darnell) fears she's losing her husband, Ken (Tyrone Power), when he spends too many late nights at the office with his attractive secretary, Kitty (Wendy Barrie). This somehow gives Jane the unlikely notion of becoming a secretary herself so she can ferret out the secret of their appeal to men. So she goes to work for horny old devil Bernard Dexter (Warren William), who is also married but has quite an eye for the ladies. Jane at first refuses Dexters' invitation to dinner, but when Ken cancels plans to take Jane out for the evening, she decides to go with Dexter -- and who shows up in the supper club as their dining companions but Ken and his secretary! Oops -- what a situation. Day-Time Wife may never go down in history as one of the cinema's most brilliant comedies, but it is an awfully cute picture, with both Darnell and Power in top form [and both very charming], and is consistently amusing to boot. Barrie, William, Binnie Barnes as Jane's best friend, Blanche, and Joan Davis as Miss Applegate, who also works for Dexter but isn't pursued by him, lend expert support, as does Mildred Gover as the maid Melbourne. Amazing that this was only Darnell's second picture.

Verdict: An insubstantial but very amusing confection with wonderful leads. ***.

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