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

Thursday, July 19, 2018


Ralph Byrd and Harry Langdon
MISBEHAVING HUSBANDS (1940). Director: William Beaudine.

Department store owner Henry Butler (Harry Langdon) has forgotten that it is the 20th anniversary of his marriage to Effie (Betty Blythe). Nevertheless she invites guests to celebrate and waits for him to get home, but a misadventure with a mannequin -- which is mistaken for a real woman by police -- means he gets home very late with a woman's shoe in his pocket. Encouraged by recent divorcee Grace (Esther Muir), Effie hires a sleazy lawyer, Gilbert Wayne (Gayne Whitman), who goes so far as to have his gal pal, Nan (Florence Wright), pretend to be Henry's inamorata so he can get a hefty percentage of the divorce settlement. Meanwhile Henry's niece, Jane (Luana Walters of Drums of Fu Manchu), and Bob Grant (Ralph Byrd of S.O.S. Coast Guard) are instructed to act as chaperons as the divorce proceeds since neither Henry nor Effie will move out of their home; the younger couple try to bring the older pair together even as they fall in love themselves. Misbehaving Husbands is not as provocative nor as funny as the title might suggest, but this cheap PRC production has some spirited players, even if Langdon was far past the days of his successful silent pictures; Betty Blythe [Freckles Comes Home] is terrific as Effie. Some amusing moments but very minor indeed. Billy Mitchell nearly steals the picture as the butler, Memphis.

Verdict: Anything with Byrd in it is always worth a look. **. 

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