When Ladies Meet
Cast & Crew
Robert Z. Leonard
At a New York literary reception given by flighty Bridget Drake, journalist Jimmy Lee, who has been working in California for some time, proposes to novelist Mary Howard, unaware that during his absence, Mary has fallen in love with another man. Her friends have not seen much of Mary lately, and Jimmy notices that she seems more serious and dedicated to her work. When her new publisher, the sophisticated, intellectual Rogers Woodruf shows up, Jimmy knows that he has met his rival. A few days later, Jimmy goes to Mary's house and comments on the amount of time she spends with Rogers, who is married. He also angers her by saying that her unfinished book, which is about a woman having an affair with a married man, is vulgar and unrealistic. While they are arguing, Bridgie arrives with her decorator friend, Walter Del Canto, and invites Mary to stay at her house in the country. Mary then discreetly asks Bridgie to invite Rogers for the weekend for "business." After Jimmy and Bridgie leave, Mary asks for advice about her protagonist from Rogers, who has just arrived, and tells him her idea that the woman confront her lover's wife. That evening, at a dinner party that Jimmy attends as an "extra man," he meets Rogers' wife Clare, not knowing at first who she is. Jimmy likes the charming and attractive Clare and feels badly when he realizes that her husband has not told her about Mary. Later, a drunken Jimmy shows up at Mary's and interrupts her in an embrace with Rogers. During his ramblings, he tells Rogers that he has just met Clare and that she has invited him to go sailing. On the weekend, while Rogers goes to Bridgie's house to see Mary, Jimmy and Clare go sailing, then Jimmy secretly calls Rogers' office, claiming to be a well-known author that Rogers wants to sign, and says that he needs to speak with Rogers right away. When Rogers' office gives him the message, he leaves, promising to return that evening. A short time later Jimmy, accompanied by an unsuspecting Clare, arrives claiming that he is lost, and Bridgie invites them for dinner. Jimmy tells Clare that he needs her to make Mary jealous and she goodnaturedly agrees. As part of his ruse, he introduces her as "Mrs. Clare" so that Mary will not know her real identity. Later, because lightning has caused a tree to fall, blocking their car, Clare and Jimmy must spend the night. During the evening, Mary comes to like and admire Clare, who confesses that her husband has had many women since their marriage but always comes back to her when his interest in his infatuations wanes. She also confesses that she is worried because he has recently become involved with someone who may be "the real thing." When Mary casually mentions the name of her publisher, Clare knows that Mary is the woman. Just then Rogers returns and is shocked to see Clare. When Mary realizes who Clare is, she is shattered, and the three discuss the details of Mary's book, which has become a metaphor for their own lives. Then, while Rogers goes to Jimmy's room to confront him about his subterfuge, Mary orders a taxi to return to town. In the living room, Mary and Clare talk and Mary confesses that she regrets hurting Clare. After Clare leaves the room, Rogers enters and tells Mary that he has never told anyone the truth, not even Clare. He also confesses that he now knows that his love for Clare is greater than his love for her. Mary realizes that she has been a fool to take their relationship for anything other than it was. When Bridgie and the others come into the living room, Mary runs off, crying. While Clare awaits her cab, Rogers tells her how much she means to her, but she tells him that she has finally stopped loving him because, after meeting Mary, she knows how cruel he has been. After Clare leaves, Jimmy advises the remorseful Rogers to go after her. Finally, after Bridgie and Walter retire, Mary and Jimmy kiss.
Robert Z. Leonard
Orville O. Dull
S. A. Herbert
Robert J. Kern
S. K. Lauren
Robert Z. Leonard
Edwin B. Willis
Best Art Direction
When Ladies Meet (1941)
When Ladies Meet was the second film version of Rachel Crothers' hit 1932 play of the same name. The first version was done in 1933 and starred Ann Harding and Myrna Loy.
In 1941 Joan Crawford was still known as the "Queen of MGM" and received top billing over Greer Garson in When Ladies Meet. However, there were rumblings that Crawford was on her way out at the studio and Garson was being groomed to take her place. Crawford had accepted the casting of Garson in the role feeling that she didn't pose any serious threat to her. Others couldn't help but notice that there was a distinct hint of rivalry between the two. Garson, who had just come off of doing two period films in a row, was thrilled to be in a modern picture, which would allow her to have a stylish look that reflected the current fashion. MGM played up Garson's natural beauty to the fullest for When Ladies Meet. She got a new makeover, new hairstyle, and gorgeous wardrobe courtesy of the famous designer Adrian. Director Robert Leonard reportedly gave Greer's new look the once over on the first day of shooting and said, "So that's what Mrs. Chips looks like without her bustle!"
Throughout the production, Crawford and Garson behaved professionally, letting any claws come out only through the biting dialogue of Anita Loos' and S.K. Lauren's screenplay adaptation. Still, when the news came during filming that Greer Garson had received an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress for her work in Blossoms in the Dust (1941) and Joan Crawford had been overlooked for her stunning turn in A Woman's Face (1941), the news stung Crawford. It was the second Academy Award nomination for Garson (she was also nominated for her work in Goodbye, Mr. Chips ) after just a handful of years in the business, while Joan Crawford had been scratching her way up the Hollywood ladder for two decades without a single nomination to her name yet.
Despite the obvious tension, Garson didn't want any negative feelings to affect the making of When Ladies Meet. "Joan was just completely nonplussed that I refused to feud with her," said Garson according to Michael Troyan's 1999 biography A Rose For Mrs. Miniver: The Life of Greer Garson. "She tried very hard to feud with me because she felt it was natural for her to feud with every other actress on the lot." Joan Crawford was reputedly upset with MGM for being more attentive to Garson's career than hers. "After all the money I made those miserable bastards," she said. "I've got nothing against Greer, but why couldn't they let her pay her dues, the way I did?" It was the only film that the two stars ever made together, and just a year later Crawford left MGM, and Garson took over as MGM's top actress.
When Ladies Meet received an Academy Award nomination for Best Art Direction.
Producer: Orville O. Dull, Robert Z. Leonard
Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Screenplay: S.K. Lauren, Anita Loos, based on the play by Rachel Crothers
Cinematography: Robert H. Planck
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Music: Bronislau Kaper
Film Editing: Robert Kern
Cast: Joan Crawford (Mary 'Minnie' Howard), Robert Taylor (Jimmy Lee), Greer Garson (Claire Woodruff), Herbert Marshall (Rogers Woodruff), Spring Byington (Bridget Drake), Rafael Storm (Walter Del Canto).
BW-105m. Closed captioning.
by Andrea Passafiume
When Ladies Meet (1941)
I've discovered it doesn't pay to be capable. Husbands don't approve.- Claire Woodruff
Based on the play, "When Ladies Meet" by Rachel Crothers that was produced by John Golden and opened at the Royale Theatre in NYC on 6 October 1932 and closed 4 March 1933 (173 performances). Stage cast included Frieda Inescort, Walter Abel, Spring Byington, Herbert Rawlinson and Selena Royale. Spring Byington was also in the film version.
The film received an Oscar nomination for Best Art Direction. Spring Byington recreated the role of "Bridgie" from the Broadway version of Rachel Crother's play, which was also the basis of a 1933 M-G-M film entitled When Ladies Meet. The title of the earlier film was at one time changed to Strange Skirts for its television release to avoid confusion with the 1941 version. The 1933 film, which was written by John Meehan and Leon Gordon (both of whom are credited on the SAB only as contributing writers), was directed by Harry Beaumont and starred Ann Harding, Robert Montgomery and Myrna Loy (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.5046). The 1941 picture very closely follows the plot of the 1933 film. An ABC television of the play was broadcast on June 11, 1952, directed by Alex Segal and starring Patricia Morison and Richard Carlson.