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That Certain Woman (1937)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 18 September 1937 (USA)
Mary Donnell, a young legal secretary with a past, elopes with a client's son, but his father has the marriage annulled without knowing she's pregnant.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Flip
...
...
Merrick, Sr.
...
Virgil Whitaker
...
Mrs. Rogers (as Katherine Alexander)
...
Amy (as Mary Phillips)
...
Tilden
...
Detective Neely
...
Dr. James
...
Fred
...
Dr. Hartman
Tim Henning ...
Kenyon
Dwane Day ...
Jackie
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Storyline

Mary Donnell was married at sixteen to a gangster and soon widowed. She works for unhappily married lawyer Lloyd Rogers. A client's son Jack elopes with her, but his father tracks them down and has the marriage annulled. Mary has a son. Unaware of this, the father remarries; his new wife is crippled in an auto accident. The lawyer, now dying, tells Mary he has left her money for her and her son, Roger's widow suspects her husband may have been the father, while Mary is convinced instead that it was her annulled ex-husband, Jack. Jack's ruthless father , upon learning he may be grandparent of the child, threatens legal action to gain custody, but his son wants no part in separating little Jackie from his mother. Further, he reasserts his love for Mary and promises he will ask his now handicapped wife, Flip, for a divorce so that Jackie will have a real family. He instructs Mary to pack her belongings and get Jackie ready to leave so that the three can start a new life ... Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Love Broke Her Heart !

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

18 September 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aquella mujer  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A prolific smoker, Bette Davis doesn't smoke once during the film. She takes a an offered cigarette at one time but only holds it. Bette also makes a couple of negative comments about cigarette smoke. Sorry, don't know who posted this, but the above is inaccurate; she has at least one in the bar waiting for Henry Fonda. See more »

Quotes

Mary Donnell: Go on, roll your hoop!
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Crazy Credits

The opening credits roll up. See more »

Connections

Referenced in All About Bette (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

'Cause My Baby Says It's So
(1937) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played during the scene at the bar
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User Reviews

 
Women Are Noble, Men Are Dogs
26 January 2009 | by See all my reviews

It's a good thing that the following year from That Certain Woman, Bette Davis and Henry Fonda got to make Jezebel and acquit themselves well in a drama of substance. It certainly showed that as a team they could do better than That Certain Woman and have it be the only film they would be judged on as a screen team.

For such a noble thing Bette's been around the track quite a bit and gets a few more turns before the film ends. As a teen she marries a notorious hoodlum who is killed in a gun battle and she's trying to live it down. She's working under an assumed name as a secretary to wealthy attorney Ian Hunter. When exposed Hunter doesn't care because he's in a rather loveless marriage to the rather frigid Katharine Alexander.

Bette likes him OK, but her heart is set on playboy Henry Fonda. They do get married, but Fonda's father Donald Crisp comes running after his son and gets the marriage annulled. Of course he can't annul what Fonda left to remember him by.

Bette doesn't tell him about their kid and later Fonda marries socialite Anita Louise who is later paralyzed from a car crash. If you're a devotee of soap operas the plot can take any number of directions from here and I won't say.

If That Certain Woman were made today it would be debuting on the Lifetime Channel. From what I've just described there's enough material here for a dozen soaps. One common thing I noticed in this film. The women are all noble and self sacrificing, especially Anita Louise. The men however are all dogs, between the lusting in his heart Hunter, the weakling Fonda, the tyrannical Crisp, even the reporter who tries to blackmail Davis, Hugh O'Connell. Now that's an article of faith to get on the Lifetime Channel.

Bette and Hank do their best with it all, but there are enough tears to fill Lake Erie in this film and suds enough to wash the uniforms at the Great Lakes Naval Training station.


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