When Ladies Meet


1h 25m 1933
When Ladies Meet

Brief Synopsis

A female novelist doesn't realize her new friend is the wife whose husband she's trying to steal.

Film Details

Also Known As
Strange Skirts
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Jun 23, 1933
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play When Ladies Meet by Rachel Crothers (New York, 6 Oct 1932), as produced by John Golden, Inc.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Synopsis

Young New York reporter Jimmy Lee proposes marriage to Mary Howard, a successful novelist whom he has long loved, but is refused. Suspicious that she is becoming involved with her married publisher, Rogers Woodruf, Jimmy tells Mary that the ending of her latest book, in which a mistress confronts her lover's devoted wife and receives her blessing, is unbelievable. Mary dismisses Jimmy's complaints, however, and quietly arranges with her best friend, widow Bridget Drake, to spend the weekend in the country with Woodruf. After Jimmy deduces Mary and Bridget's plans, he offers to introduce Woodruf to a famous, elusive writer, whose books Woodruf desperately wants to publish, during the weekend. Later, Jimmy interrupts an intimate moment between Woodruf and Mary when he climbs Mary's balcony and drunkenly calls to her. Still conniving, Jimmy plays a game of golf in the country with Woodruf's wife Claire and, confident that Woodruf already has left for Bridget's retreat, telephones his publishing company and states that if Woodruf wants to meet with the famous author he must do so immediately as he is about to leave New York. While Woodruf scurries back to the city, Jimmy tells Claire about his ill-fated romance and asks her to pretend to be his "date" in order to make Mary jealous. Amused, the oblivious Claire agrees to the sham and introduces herself to Mary, Bridget and her gigolo boyfriend, Walter Manning, as "Mrs. Claire," Jimmy's "cousin." As hoped, Mary and Claire immediately take to each other and, while a storm rages outside, exchange thoughts about life, love and the ending to Mary's novel. At first, Claire confirms Mary's conjectures that a loving wife could give up her husband if she were convinced that he would be happier with another woman. Later, as the two women talk in Mary's bedroom, Claire reveals that for years she has been aware of her own husband's affairs and senses that he is yet again involved with another woman. Claire then confesses that if this woman were to ask her what Mary's protaganist asks of the wife in Mary's novel, she would wish the woman dead and hang on to her husband at all costs. At that moment, Woodruf bursts into the bedroom calling to Mary, and his relationship to both Mary and Claire is revealed. Stricken, Claire asks Woodruf to choose between the two of them, but a chagrined Woodruf refuses to comply. In disgust, Claire tells Mary that she is willing to give up Woodruf after all and prepares to leave the house. Later, Woodruf confesses to Mary that his intentions toward her are not as serious as she has perceived them and tries to make up with his wife. After Claire tells Woodruf that she no longer loves him and leaves, Jimmy counsels his rival to go after his wife and find a way back into her heart. Then, while a bemused Bridget tries to make sense of the evening's goings-on, Jimmy consoles a heartbroken but wiser Mary with his love-filled jokes.

Film Details

Also Known As
Strange Skirts
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Jun 23, 1933
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play When Ladies Meet by Rachel Crothers (New York, 6 Oct 1932), as produced by John Golden, Inc.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Award Nominations

Best Art Direction

1933

Articles

When Ladies Meet (1933)


In the sophisticated, pre-Code When Ladies Meet (1933), Myrna Loy plays a novelist who's enamoured with her publisher, Frank Morgan, who is married to Ann Harding. Loy's boyfriend, Robert Montgomery, tries to break up this budding romance by introducing Loy to Harding without telling either lady who the other is. When the cat is let out of the bag, Harding gives Loy some common-sense advice about straying husbands and the fireworks begin. Adding terrific energy and humor to the proceedings is Alice Brady as their cynical hostess; she almost single-handedly steals the movie.

"It is an intelligent and amusing production, even though as a film it is somewhat long on words and short on drama," wrote Mordaunt Hall in The New York Times. True, When Ladies Meet is rather verbose and stage bound (it's based on a play by Rachel Crothers), but its witty dialogue, Oscar®-nominated art direction and wonderful cast make it memorable. Loy was exactly one year away from cementing her fame forever with The Thin Man (1934). Brady was a superb actress who would be Oscar®-nominated two years later for her supporting performance in My Man Godfrey (1936); a year after that, she would win the award for In Old Chicago (1937).

Ann Harding was a fine, lovely but now-forgotten actress who specialized in tearjerkers at this stage of her career. After making 20 movies in eight years, she retired from the screen in 1937 to get married, only to return in the 1940s for a dozen more pictures. Myrna Loy in her autobiography remembered Harding as "a very private person, a wonderful actress completely without star temperament, but withdrawn."

As for the other stars of When Ladies Meet, Loy described Brady as "charming, funny and wonderful." Bob Montgomery adored her, and, both being great wits, they made very entertaining companions. We became a little coterie of three, occasionally going to her house or having something to eat after work. That kind of easy camaraderie is rare in pictures; everything goes so fast you very often don't get to know people."

Producer: Lawrence Weingarten
Director: Harry Beaumont
Screenplay: Leon Gordon, John Meehan, based on the play by Rachel Crothers
Cinematography: Ray June
Film Editing: Hugh Wynn
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Cast: Ann Harding (Clare Woodruf), Robert Montgomery (Jimmie Lee), Myrna Loy (Mary Howard), Alice Brady (Bridget Drake), Frank Morgan (Rogers Woodruf), Martin Burton (Walter Manners).
BW-86m.

by Jeremy Arnold
When Ladies Meet (1933)

When Ladies Meet (1933)

In the sophisticated, pre-Code When Ladies Meet (1933), Myrna Loy plays a novelist who's enamoured with her publisher, Frank Morgan, who is married to Ann Harding. Loy's boyfriend, Robert Montgomery, tries to break up this budding romance by introducing Loy to Harding without telling either lady who the other is. When the cat is let out of the bag, Harding gives Loy some common-sense advice about straying husbands and the fireworks begin. Adding terrific energy and humor to the proceedings is Alice Brady as their cynical hostess; she almost single-handedly steals the movie. "It is an intelligent and amusing production, even though as a film it is somewhat long on words and short on drama," wrote Mordaunt Hall in The New York Times. True, When Ladies Meet is rather verbose and stage bound (it's based on a play by Rachel Crothers), but its witty dialogue, Oscar®-nominated art direction and wonderful cast make it memorable. Loy was exactly one year away from cementing her fame forever with The Thin Man (1934). Brady was a superb actress who would be Oscar®-nominated two years later for her supporting performance in My Man Godfrey (1936); a year after that, she would win the award for In Old Chicago (1937). Ann Harding was a fine, lovely but now-forgotten actress who specialized in tearjerkers at this stage of her career. After making 20 movies in eight years, she retired from the screen in 1937 to get married, only to return in the 1940s for a dozen more pictures. Myrna Loy in her autobiography remembered Harding as "a very private person, a wonderful actress completely without star temperament, but withdrawn." As for the other stars of When Ladies Meet, Loy described Brady as "charming, funny and wonderful." Bob Montgomery adored her, and, both being great wits, they made very entertaining companions. We became a little coterie of three, occasionally going to her house or having something to eat after work. That kind of easy camaraderie is rare in pictures; everything goes so fast you very often don't get to know people." Producer: Lawrence Weingarten Director: Harry Beaumont Screenplay: Leon Gordon, John Meehan, based on the play by Rachel Crothers Cinematography: Ray June Film Editing: Hugh Wynn Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons Cast: Ann Harding (Clare Woodruf), Robert Montgomery (Jimmie Lee), Myrna Loy (Mary Howard), Alice Brady (Bridget Drake), Frank Morgan (Rogers Woodruf), Martin Burton (Walter Manners). BW-86m. by Jeremy Arnold

Quotes

What do you think I am?! He's a married man!
- Mary Howard
Of course he is - the good ones always are. Someone has always beaten you to it.
- Bridget Drake

Trivia

The original play opened in New York on 6 October 1932 and was produced by John Golden, Inc.

Notes

Film Daily lists Basil Wrangell as the film's editor, but this credit is probably an error. The film received a "Best Art Direction" Academy Award nomination at the 1932-33 ceremonies. The title on the viewed print of this film was Strange Skirts. In 1941, Robert Z. Leonard directed Joan Crawford, Robert Taylor and Greer Garson in an M-G-M remake of Rachel Crothers' story. Apparently M-G-M changed the title of the 1933 film to Strange Skirts to avoid confusion with its own remake. On June 11, 1952, a third version of Crothers' play, directed by Alex Segal and starring Patricia Morison and Richard Carlson, was broadcast on the ABC television network.