A young woman searching for work takes a job as a maid for a rich family. Intrigue follows as a butler schemes to make the attractive newcomer his own. Only to be foiled by the wealthy ...
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William A. Seiter
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A young woman searching for work takes a job as a maid for a rich family. Intrigue follows as a butler schemes to make the attractive newcomer his own. Only to be foiled by the wealthy son's attraction to her. The fall in love, secretly marry and the maid finds she is pregnant. Twist of fate complicates the storyline as the butler seeks revenge for his rejection. He tells all to the family in the hopes of ending the marriage. A courtroom drama ensues with the family poised against the wife/maid. All is made good with a dramatic turn of events. Written by
Although Private Number is nowhere near as gritty as Midnight Mary, it is beautifully photographed (Fox Movie Channel's print is lovely), and Loretta Young is almost as gorgeous here as she was in that awesome precode classic, certainly more beautiful than she was in the 1940's favorites The Bishop's Wife and The Farmer's Daughter.
Loretta looks especially beautiful with Robert Taylor in Private Number; they make a gorgeous couple. Did they ever have a romance off screen? They looked perfectly suited to one another physically.
Favorite scenes take place up at a lake in Maine, although I can't understand why Loretta's character leaves her friend the maid's character (played with pizazz by Patsy Kelly) alone naked on the shore (friend had lost bathing suit in the water). Loretta, instead of helping her, takes off with Robert Taylor's character on his boat, abandoning her friend. I'd never do that to my friend!. In fact that was the most annoying thing to me about the film: Patsy Kelly was always supporting Loretta and Loretta never did anything to repay her.
Basil Rathbone was downright scary as the butler. He was colder and more frightening here than he was with Greta Garbo in Anna Karenina, and that's saying a lot! I like the way Loretta shudders in the beginning after she first meets the butler. It made me laugh. Listen to your instincts, girl, leave! But no, she's coaxed into staying by Patsy Kelly's character, Gracie.
Monroe Owsley has a small but impressive role as James Coakley, a weak scoundrel on the make. He was to die only a year later after a car crash. Jane Darwell and Billy Bevan put in appearances as servants. Marjorie Gateson did well in the role of Robert Taylor's mother. Also worthy of note is the beautiful large dog, Prince, played by "Hamlet". I would love to have an affectionate dog like that! I wonder who his trainer was? He was adorable. When he puts his paw up on Loretta at one point to comfort her, I sighed "Awwwwww!" 8 out of 10 stars.
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