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Dr. Monica Brayden, a successful physician, is the central character in this story. Unbeknownst to her, her successful journalist husband has had an affair with one of her acquaintances, Mary Hathaway. John then embarks on an extended trip to Europe, leaving Mary pregnant. Mary is torn between her friendship for Monica and the baby she carries. Just before the baby is to be delivered, Monica finds out who the father in fact is. John has broken all ties with Mary, but Monica, who still hasn't told John about her friend's pregnancy, is prepared to leave her husband for good. Mary, who is distraught yet grateful to Monica for caring for her and her baby, is the only one who can keep the couple together. Written by
Censor Joe Breen probably stole two stars off my rating...
...by pressuring Warner Brothers to cut this film so badly. He referred to the three main female characters as "a lesbian, a nymphomaniac, and a prostitute". I find this very confusing. None of the women in this film are wearing trousers (I'm not casting stereotypes here - see The Office Wife for reference), nor are any of the women committed to more than one man - in fact two of them love the same man, and none of them seem to be doing "the deed" for money. I can only imagine that whenever he was confronted with images on film of an unconventional nature, that the top of old Joe's head came off and he started spouting nonsense. But I digress.
At a short 53 minutes this is a film about Dr. Monica Braden (Kay Francis), a woman who delivers babies for a living but is physically unable to have her own and desperately wants to, her husband John (Warren William) who has a short affair with an acquaintance (Jean Muir) but ends it when he realizes he really loves Monica, with a healthy dose of friendship thrown in for Monica in the person of Teasdale's character. Dr. Monica becomes the physician of the girl having her husband's baby not knowing the situation. Complications ensue.
The cutting on this film is so stark that you can actually see where the abortion would have been discussed. Jean Muir's character has just learned her condition, starts to say something - never does, and then the film cuts to Dr. Monica telling her sternly "don't even think that! Ever!". Plus, Warren William is practically neutered in this film. If you're familiar with his work, you know Warren William usually was the fast-talking cad in a multitude of Warner precodes who was second fiddle to none. Unfortunately, here he is barely fourth fiddle.
If I seem like I'm being hard on this film it's mainly the screenplay to which I object. Both Muir and Francis are natural, strong, and vulnerable in their roles depending upon what is needed in any given scene. Teasdale doesn't get to do much, but she adds a level head to a situation that desperately needs one. As with all of Kay's WB films this one boasts a lovely score and has a few wonderful seemingly untouched scenes, such as the one where Dr. Braden and her husband are enjoying a sunset together at the end of their vacation - she understands the significance of the occasion (a last time together, as she wants to step aside so John can be a father to his child), he does not (He doesn't even know he's a father).
Recommended for hard core fans of Francis, but do be prepared to feel like you've been rushed through an incomplete story, because you have been.
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