A young woman (Stanley Timberlake) dumps her fiancée (Craig Fleming) and runs off with her sister's (Roy Timberlake) husband (Peter Kingsmill). They marry, settle in Baltimore, and Stanley ... See full summary »
Olivia de Havilland,
Popular and beautiful Fanny Trellis is forced into a loveless marriage with an older man, Jewish banker Job Skeffington, in order to save her beloved brother Trippy from an embezzlement charge and predictable complications result.
Frisco Jenny was orphaned by the 1906 earthquake and fire and has become the madame of a prosperous bawdy house. She puts her son up for adoption and he rises to prominence as district ... See full summary »
William A. Wellman
Helen Jerome Eddy
Spinster poetess Susan Grieve lives in a Manahattan apartment where naval hero Slick Novak comes with her for a nightcap. Next morning they visit her Connecticut farm where Novak tells her ... See full summary »
Selina lived well until her father Simeon died. Her aunts sold the estate and put her in a boarding school. As an adult she wants to be a teacher in farming country. She falls in love with ... See full summary »
William A. Wellman
Rosa Moline is bored with life in a small town. She loves Chicago industrialist Neil Latimer who has a hunting lodge nearby. Rosa squeezes her husband's patients to pay their bills so she ... See full summary »
Ronald Quayle escapes from prison. He was sent there for murdering his father, based on the testimony of his stepmother, Caroline. An explosion disfigures him, but plastic surgery gives him... See full summary »
Commercial artist Helen Bauer believes marriage kills romance. She lives with advertising writer Don Peterson. He convinces her to marry him. He later carries on with client Peggy Smith; Helen takes up with Don's competitor Nick Malvyn. In the end, the couple agree to give marriage another chance. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Well, well, imagine my surprise when I saw two people in a double bed. That's right - precode, no whitewash. Bette Davis and Gene Raymond star in "Ex-Lady," about talented illustrator Helen Bauer, a career girl with very definite ideas about marriage - she's against it. Don (Raymond) has a key to her apartment, but he finally talks her into marriage. After a wonderful Havana honeymoon, the two return to find his ad agency, at which she now works, is in shambles. The two seem to grow unhappier until they decide it's just not working. But while separated, he and Helen find that the emotions they thought they left behind in marriage are still very much present.
I wasn't as enthusiastic about "Ex-Lady" as some of the other posters. It's slow-moving and stagy. It's based on an unproduced play, and it's not hard to see why it wasn't produced. Still, it's fascinating - Davis is all of about 28, tiny and pretty, and her screen persona is as yet unset. The feminist premise is very interesting, as are all of the precode elements. Davis and Raymond display quite a bit of chemistry, and talk about not having your screen persona - Frank McHugh wanders around as if he's on another planet! There's also a rendition of a cut version of Wagner's "Dich, teure Halle" at a party.
Davis does fine in her role, but of course, this isn't the type of thing she would shine in once Warners caught on. Raymond has never impressed me much, but if Jeannette MacDonald was forced to marry him, apparently he impressed Louis B. Mayer.
All in all, "Ex-Lady" is worth seeing for early Davis and as a pre-code film, which makes some of the movie seem quite modern.
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