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Second Wife

Second Wife(1936)

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Remind Me

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As part of his son's eleventh birthday celebration, lawyer Kenneth Carpenter, a widower, invites his girl friend, Virginia Howard, to his home for the first time. Before Virginia arrives, Kenneth takes "Junior" to visit his dead wife's mother and confesses to her that he is re-marrying. To his surprise, his mother-in-law endorses his engagement, but counsels him not to expect Virginia to love Junior as much as any child they may have together. During the evening, Virginia, who feels overwhelmed by the shadowy presence of her predecessor, tells Kenneth that, after they marry, she wants to buy new furniture and move to an apartment in New York. As Kenneth protests the idea, he accidentally calls Virginia by his former wife's name, then quickly apologizes and consents to her plans. Months later, a pregnant Virginia questions Kenneth about his decision to send Junior to a boarding school in Switzerland. Kenneth defends his action by asserting that all couples deserve to spend their first year of marriage alone. Later, Virginia confides in Mrs. Brown, Kenneth's longtime housekeeper, her apprehension about Junior's absence and Kenneth's fears about her relationship with her stepson. After Virginia offers to send Mrs. Brown to Switzerland to retrieve Junior, Kenneth receives word from the boarding school that Junior has been stricken with typhoid fever. Terrified, Kenneth prepares to leave on the next flight of the Hindenburg , forgetting completely about Virginia's impending motherhood. Hurt deeply by Kenneth's seeming indifference to her, Virginia sends him off with a cold farewell. Kenneth's arrival at the boarding school saves Junior, but when he returns to New York, he discovers that the still angry Virginia, now the mother of a baby girl, has been dating Dave Bennett, a loyal, persistent admirer. On the edge of defeat, Kenneth is advised by his former mother-in-law to fight for Virginia's love. In spite of his efforts, Kenneth is spurned by Virginia, who then accepts Dave's proposal. When Dave demands that Virginia give up her baby before moving to Peru with him, however, she finally understands Kenneth's paternal concerns and rejects Dave. Virginia then shows up at Junior's local boarding school and convinces him to return home with her. United at last, Kenneth, Virginia and Junior embrace.