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

Thursday, September 24, 2015


DEAR WIFE (1949). Director: Richard Haydn.

In this sequel to Dear Ruth, Bill Seacroft (William Holden) is happily married to Ruth (Joan Caulfield) and living with his in-laws in their big house in New York. Bill's young, naive, but politically active sister-in-law, Miriam (Mona Freeman), doesn't like the current administration in her town and rallies against it before she discovers that her father, Judge Wilkins (Edward Arnold), is going to run for state Senate. Worse, Miriam has started a petition nominating Bill for the same seat! At first Bill, a bank clerk, has no interest in running, but when he learns that a new airport will leave many people homeless, he decides to challenge the judge, a situation which becomes increasingly awkward and threatens his marriage. Dear Wife is predicated on an amusing and interesting situation and builds upon it with its funny script and some fine acting. Holden [Executive Suite] makes the perfect leading man in this, Caulfield [The Unsuspected] is fine, and Arnold and Mary Philips as her parents are wonderful. Mona Freeman plays her part with perhaps too much self-conscious cuteness, but Billy De Wolfe positively walks off with the movie with his irresistible portrayal of Bill's boss and love rival, Albert. There are also memorable bits from Irving Bacon, Harry von Zell, amiable and adept William Murphy, Arleen Whelan, Raymond Roe, and Ida Moore [The Egg and I] as a drunken old lady in court. The best cameo is a sleepy neighbor played by Richard Haydn, who also directed the film.

Verdict: Cute and funny picture with some great performances. ***.

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