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Carolyn and Michael fall in love and decide to marry. However, Michael insists that Carolyn quit her job. She soon finds that the two of them cannot make ends meet on his salary alone, so she gets a job and tries to keep it a secret from him. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
Although this film was made before the television era, in some ways it resembles an extended episode of a TV sitcom. The main characters are Michael and Carolyn Martin, a young newlywed couple from New York. The plot centres upon the disharmony caused in their marriage by their financial difficulties. Michael is an engineer earning $35 per week. In the Depression era of the thirties this would probably have been regarded by most Americans as a good living wage, but it is not enough to keep Carolyn in the middle-class style to which she has become accustomed. Before her marriage she worked as a model earning $50 per week, but Michael has old-fashioned views about married women working (old-fashioned by today's standards if not those of the thirties) and refuses to let her go out to work. Carolyn, however, is unable to limit her spending (she impulsively buys a dress costing over $40) and soon the couple are in financial difficulties and their furniture is repossessed. An added complication is that Carolyn has a wealthy admirer in the shape of Hugh, the foppish son of a department-store owner. (At least, he is a fop some of the time. His character seems to veer between a drunken playboy and a perfect gentlemen).
The film resembles a sitcom in that the humour arises out of the situations in which the characters find themselves rather than from any particularly witty dialogue. As another reviewer has pointed out, the main comic relief is provided by Billy Gilbert as the repo man and Ned Sparks as Michael's colleague Paul, but as Gilbert's party piece seems to be pretending to sneeze (in which he is joined in a duet by Barbara Stanwyck) and Sparks's speciality is talking out of the side of his mouth while holding a cigar firmly clamped between his jaws, I can only think that audiences of the thirties were more easily pleased than those of today would be.
The main problem with this film for a modern audience, however, is its outdated social attitudes. The jocular references to wife-beating, for example, do not seem tasteful or funny today. Although the film is fairly sympathetic to Carolyn's desire to work, a woman's job is seen not in terms of a fulfilling career but in terms of a way of providing pocket-money to keep herself in luxuries. There is also a racist joke when Carolyn's maid (about the only role open to black actresses in the thirties) remarks that black men are too idle to support themselves and prefer to live off their wives. The film as a whole seems very dated today. "Halliwell's Film Guide" describes it as "thin" but "pleasing". The first adjective may be apt; the second certainly is not. 4/10
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