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This Man Is Mine (1934)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 13 April 1934 (USA)
Irene Dunne is married to Ralph Bellamy. Their union is comfortable but all that changes when Bellamy's old flame Constance Cummings comes back to town. Will the the thrill of loves past disrupt their happy home?

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (from the play: "Love Flies in the Window")
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Tony Dunlap
...
Francesca Harper
...
Jim Dunlap
...
Bee McCrae
...
Vivian Tobin ...
Rita
...
Mort Holmes
...
Slim
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Storyline

Irene Dunne is married to Ralph Bellamy. Their union is comfortable but all that changes when Bellamy's old flame Constance Cummings comes back to town. Will the the thrill of loves past disrupt their happy home?

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

vamp | slap | scandal | revenge | pianist | See All (22) »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 April 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Este Homem é Meu  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Anne Morrison Chapin's play, "Love Flies in the Window," opened in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in 1933, but had no Broadway production. See more »

Goofs

When Fran and Jim kiss for the first time, the camera pans down and then focuses a watch worn on Jim's left wrist. However, from the perspective of the character, the watch is being worn upside down - but is probably shown this way to the camera so we can see what time it is easier, as in the very next shot the camera pulls back on another wristwatch worn by another character to indicate the passage of time. See more »

Quotes

Francesca 'Fran' Harper: I've come to turn the other cheek.
Toni Dunlap: Well, turn it somewhere else. I've seen enough of your cheek!
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Soundtracks

Idyll
(1935) (uncredited)
Music by Nicolai Medtner
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User Reviews

 
Not what I expected.... but a lot more.
20 December 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film was described as a comedy on the cable station listing, and with a cast that includes those great screwball stars Irene Dunne and Ralph Bellamy (see "The Awful Truth"), I expected a light and zany marital farce. Far from it. Despite the nonstop string of quips, clever insults, and arch comments, this film is at its core a rather cynical and serious take on the institution of marriage. Given that it was directed by John Cromwell, I guess I should have anticipated that there'd be something more substantial lurking under the glossy comic veneer.

Things start straying from the formula-comedy path in the very first scene. When hubby Ralph talks to his doting wife Irene, the expected marital banter soon devolves into a rather distasteful display of selfish rudeness on his part. There's not the slightest glimpse of any qualities that would make his wife so devoted to him. His subsequent behavior with old flame Constance Cummings stamps him indelibly as a cad and a fool. Still, I expected him to come to his senses after one night's infidelity and do something noble to win back Irene. But he kept on behaving like such a louse that I found myself rooting for her not to take him back.... even though I knew this was not likely to happen in a Hollywood film from this era, especially when the couple in question had a child.

Another noteworthy departure from the standard-issue Hollywood formula is the affair between bad-girl Constance Cummings' character and the character portrayed by Sidney Blackmer. It's made quite explicit that she had picked him up under disreputable circumstances and that they have some sort of kinky relationship going on. Blackmer manages to show us a man who is suave, creepy, and admirable in one package.(He may behave amorally, but at least he's honest about it.)

Meanwhile, I was surprised and delighted to hear two strong, intelligent, independent-minded female characters (Irene Dunne's and Kay Johnson's) expressing some rather enlightened ideas about marriage and womanhood. No doubt this had something to do with the fact that both the screenplay and the play upon which it was based were written by women. As the film progressed, I began to hope for something truly revolutionary: that Irene would dump her unworthy husband even if he decided to return to her. If I'm not mistaken, she looks like she's not completely surrendering to him in the final clinch that closes the film. The ending is not the definitive feminist statement I was hoping for, but it's just ambiguous enough to leave the door open for that sort of interpretation if you're inclined to see it that way. It's a great illustration of how "Pre-Code" signifies much more than overt sexuality and "immoral" behavior; had "This Man Is Mine" been made just one year later, there's no doubt Irene would have pulled the noble self-sacrifice routine to win back her boorish husband, if only for the sake of their child.

This is an original, deftly-written film that keeps you guessing throughout. I appreciated the attention given to creating interesting, complex characters—even the minor ones have distinctive personalities and quirks. And hooray to the scriptwriter, director, and Ralph Bellamy for not trying to show in the end that his character is a great guy underneath it all! Performances by just about the entire cast are nuanced and compelling, with the three leading ladies meriting special praise.

Those who view this film as a lesser version of "The Women" are I think missing the point.... there's a lot more going on here than the bitchy (albeit well-written) catfights. Give it another look and see if you agree.


11 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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