When Jane Norton inadvertently discovers that Ken, her husband of two years, is dallying with his beautiful secretary, she decides to turn the tables by applying for a job as secretary to philandering architect Barney Dexter, an associate of her husband. Despite cynical advice from her friend Blanche, a three-time divorcée, Jane stays one step ahead of the amorous Dexter and uses Ken's jealousy to get him to renounce his extra-marital indiscretions. Written by
Gabe Taverney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Charming Bedroom Farce With Sweet Sixteen Linda Darnell
We could even say sixteen going on twenty-six, but the ever gorgeous Linda Darnell, does look achingly sweet and innocent in minor 20th Century Fox comedy Day-Time Wife. Nevertheless she convincingly plays the sophisticated wife of well-off businessman Tyrone Power, married long enough for the cad to be already fooling around with his no-class floozy of a secretary (Wendy Barrie). Only the second picture for the teenage actress, young Linda gives a remarkable performance, especially since she has to more or less carry the movie, being on screen in practically every scene. She holds her own with great poise and verve in the presence of veteran actresses Barrie, Binnie Barns, Joan Davis, and Joan Valerie. Nor does she seem the least bit overawed by the formidable screen presences of dashing leading man Power and old smoothie Warren William. William, always fun to watch, has a field day as a lecherous architect whose secretary Linda becomes in hope of learning what makes men so attracted to their curvaceous dictation takers. But once you have seen Day-Time Wife, you will not be likely to remember any of the cast better than pretty, perky Miss Darnell.
This picture is not a screwball comedy, as some others have labeled it. Just isn't screwy enough, and lacks most of the typical elements of that type. See my review of Go West, Young Man (1936) for a definition of screwball comedy. Day Time-Wife is a species of a genre known as bedroom farce. Hopefully this term will not lead crude types out there to expect naked men and women chasing each other around beds. Bedroom farce is simply the Hollywood trade name for a comedy which involves married people having problems staying married. Day-Time Wife also falls into a category known in the trade as "white telephone movies". Back in those days only the most affluent had a telephones any color or style other than utilitarian black. Thus a white telephone movie is about rich guys and rich dolls hanging out in their plush apartments or palatial mansions, going out to swanky night clubs, sailing on their swell yachts, and gabbing on their white telephones.
Day-Time Wife is ably directed by Gregory Ratoff, who also directed Miss Darnell in her first picture Hotel For Women (1939), with the glossy black and white cinematography, plush sets, and swank costumes for which 20th Century Fox was famous during the halcyon days of the big studios. Editing is silky smooth, as in any big studio picture form this era. The story offers little in the way of originality, but no matter, there hasn't been a new story since 33 A. D. The script by Art Arthur and Robert Harari is reasonably subtle and intelligent for one of this genre, the dialog crisp, engaging, and witty. Day-Time Wife is an amusing little comedy, very funny, especially in the climatic segment. It is a pleasure to watch if only for the knockout production values and the charming cast, led by the very young, very beautiful and very talented Miss Linda Darnell.
A load of slick, smooth entertainment from Old Hollywood's Golden Era packed into an hour and twelve minutes.
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