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Wife, Husband and Friend

Wife, Husband and Friend(1939)

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  • Great movie

    • Scott Cohen
    • 1/25/13

    I have just watched this on my DVR from TCM. It is a very witty movie with several unforgettable scenes.Loretta Young attacks husband Warner Baxter in an unprecedented scene after she has been embarrassed by her husband's real singing ability (she had thought herself a great singer but wasn't ) Young hits Baxter, knocks him down in hysterical rage, yells "I will kill you" and tries to strangle him. This jarring scene breaks up the comedy which had preceded it.Binnie Barnes excels as the opera singer who tries to seduce Baxter. Her scenes with Baxter are extremely sensual and bristle with sexual tension.The movie is very funny with Eugene Pallette and George Barbier stealing many a scene. But the basic premise of Baxter's contractor husband having an operatic voice is very good. This movie was done later as Everybody Does It with Paul Douglas in the Baxter role.

  • -- and Cain's Career in C Major

    • John Burleigh
    • 8/30/09

    The two main weaknesses in Wife, Husband and Friend and Everybody Does It stem from their departures from the novel on which they are based. First, the climactic cocktail party scene is much funnier in Cain's Career in C Major because Borland in fact WAS having an affair with Carver. The delightful resolution of the novel, a happy reconciliation between Leonard and Doris as she remains blissfully ignorant (so fixated was she on their respective musical careers), was too much for Hollywood's censors then. Second, the films don't know how to kill off Leonard's singing career. In WHF, it is ridiculous to suppose that Warner Baxter, who has been indifferent to his musical career, would succumb to stage fright. EDI recognizes this problem but its fix (Paul Douglas takes too many pills and drinks) is equally lame. Cain is subtler, ascribing Leonard's miscues and failure to his unprofessionalism and lack of artistic interest. This was too subtle and undemocratic for Hollywood. Likewise, Carver, impressive in the novel, is (especially in EDI) a predatory villain who ends up squelched as though she were Sig Rumann in Night at the Opera. Even if they ultimately succumb to the heavy-handed democratic message to which all Hollywood treatments of classical music were required to submit, both films are very funny, though they pale before Cain's hysterically funny novel.

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