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After Business Hours (1925)

 |  Drama  |  28 June 1925 (USA)
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A young woman marries a rich young man. However, he doesn't trust her with money and won't let her have any of her own. Desperate, she turns to gambling and finally forgery. Complications ensue.

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Cast

Cast overview:
Elaine Hammerstein ...
June King
Lou Tellegen ...
John King
...
Sylvia Vane
John Patrick ...
Richard Downing
Lillian Langdon ...
Mrs. Wentworth
William Scott ...
James Hendricks
...
Jerry Stanton
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Storyline

A young woman marries a rich young man. However, he doesn't trust her with money and won't let her have any of her own. Desperate, she turns to gambling and finally forgery. Complications ensue.

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society | See All (1) »

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Drama

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28 June 1925 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O que uma Esposa não Deve Fazer  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Another milestone in Mal St Clair's parade of hits. No, I don't think so.
18 March 2008 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

Very little is right about 'After Business Hours', and yet I was deeply impressed by this film's choice of subject matter. More than half a century after this movie was made, there was still not widespread recognition of the fact that gambling is often an addictive personality disorder, in which gamblers get a 'high' from the adrenaline they generate when risking their finances. Here's a movie made way back in 1925 which depicts a gambling addict -- a woman, no less -- in an era when most gamblers were perceived to be male, and usually depicted as either harmless Runyon-ish railbirds or outright criminals.

Idle young wife June King (Elaine Hammerstein) is an example of what later became known as 'the ladies who lunch'. Her husband John (Lou Tellegen) is a wealthy businessman, considerably older than June. He has set up generous charge accounts for his wife, yet he allows her very little actual house money. (I found this implausible: surely just the other way round is more likely?) Hoping to generate more income, June gets into a poker game with Mrs Wentworth but quickly loses $150: much more than she actually has. Unwilling to ask John to make good the debt, June pawns some of the jewellery he has given her, and wears a faux substitute. But by now the gambling bug has bitten her. As June continues to gamble, her debts mount: she resorts first to theft, and then to forging cheques, to pay her debts. This can't keep going...

Oh, dear. Although tackling a brutally real subject, this film depicts it very unrealistically. June is shown participating in several different forms of gambling (cards, race meetings, and so forth). This seemed contrived to me; although an addicted gambler will indeed bet on anything, most gamblers have one favoured activity upon which they put the brunt of their wagers. Even more implausibly, a scene in the shop of a pawnbroker (well-played by John Patrick) implies that he maintains his business solely on the custom of wealthy but cash-poor wives like June: how likely is that?

Most fatally, neither of the two leads give particularly interesting performances. Elaine Hammerstein (cousin of lyricist Oscar Hammerstein) came from a powerful showbiz family, yet here she demonstrates very little in terms of either acting ability or good looks. I've dealt with Lou Tellegen's considerable shortcomings in other IMDb reviews. I was rather surprised to see Malcolm St Clair credited as this movie's director: St Clair is now remembered solely for comedies, specifically BAD comedies. His direction and pacing are bad here too, but there's precious little comedy.

I wonder if it's coincidence that not one but two actors in this movie (Tellegen and Phyllis Haver) committed suicide. Ironically, Elaine Hammerstein and her real-life husband (film director Alan Crosland) both died in (separate) car accidents. My rating for 'After Business Hours' is 5 out of 10, but at least one of those points is for Phyllis Haver's performance, which should have been in a much better movie. This gambling drama is a losing bet.


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