When Ladies Meet (1941) Poster

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Intelligent Drama and Screwball Comedy; Memorable
silverscreen88812 July 2005
Rachel Crothers was one of the United States' best playwrights for decades. "He and She" and "When Ladies Meet" are her two best-known works. There was a good earlier version of this work; this remake has the benefit of stars of the caliber of Greer Garson as the wronged wife, Joan Crawford as the girl who wrongs her, Herbert Marshall as Garson's husband and Robert Taylor as the young man who loves Crawford. Robert Z. Leonard directed the film, with his usual skill in getting first-rate performances from his actors. The screenplay, adapted from the fine play by Anita Loos and S.K. Lauren, seldom seems as if it had been a stage work; and the scenes are opened out to include sailing and other outside scenes. The film boasts another lovely set by Cedric Gibbons, and some dense B/W style provided by the photography team. Music is by Bronislau Kaper, and in the talented cast along with the aforementioned quartet of well-cast actors the director gave us Spring Byington and several other good choices. But it is the plot in this highly-intelligent and understated contest between two women that drives every action; the theme of this important look at personal relations and the rules of commitment in partnerships is honesty--to oneself, and to one's partner. Garson thought she had a good marriage; Marshall may not have thought so, but he had no real reason to cheat, except to pretend to be Crawfor'd infallible mentor--a very unhealthy misassumption. Crawford thinks she is modern because she does not care why she is making herself momentarily happy; and Taylor loves Crawford for what she should be, not what she is. Byington, older and wiser, has taken on a 'husband' who is content to be her husband, and she has settled for his good points and agreed to put up with the rest on equal terms. The gimmick that works as a plot device here, cleverly, is that the two women in Marshall's life have never met; and when they do, Crawford still does not know who Garson is--or that she know her for what she is... In their parts, Garson is powerful, wonderfully intelligent and strong; Crawford does her best but apart from matching her charisma she cannot begin to match Garson's ethical screen presence. Robert Taylor plays his part as callow, charmingly young, and it is one of his best in energy, approach and timing. Marshall is professional in his part, but a bit old or staid to play a part that really required a Warren William or Walter Pigeon. .The lighting, the set decorations by Edwin B. Willis and the costumes are a great asset also. This is a very underrated.and intelligent look at "modern marriage", c. 1941. The upshot of the film is that Marshall realizes what he about to lose and is smart enough to try to earn Garson's love again, and that Crawford realizes what she was about to do for momentary pleasure by pretense, without even having earned it--with the possibility that Taylor may become to her what she had been fantasizing Marshall might be. This is always an interesting narrative, a very compelling mix of dramatic and character- revealing screwball satire elements. Highly recommended
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When Joan Crawford and Greer Garson meet
marcslope27 December 2007
Two MGM divas get to have at one another in a most civilized, clipped-consonant fashion in this remake of a livelier 1933 comedy-drama, adapted from a hit Rachel Crothers play. Joan Crawford is a best-selling authoress on the brink of an affair with her publisher, Herbert Marshall, who is married to Greer Garson; meantime, Robert Taylor pines, rather inexplicably, after Crawford. I'm sure Joan was an intelligent woman, but playing a New York smart-set intellectual (with a downtown apartment whose garden is the size of a city block), she's unable to project intelligence; you simply can't believe this clothes horse could come up with the smart one-liners Anita Loos puts into her mouth, or that she could pen anything more complex than "The Little Engine That Could." You sense that MGM is building up Greer as it tears down Joan; it's a much more sympathetic part, and though Greer doesn't enter the film till nearly the second half, she dominates it from there on. I find Greer's charms calculated and her acting style obvious, but she has the audience on her side and is more interesting to watch than the ever key-light-seeking Crawford. Why either should pine after the doughy, monotonous Marshall is never clear, and the fadeout is so plainly headed toward a conventional-morality-circa-1941 ending that the drama never runs very high. (For all that, it's resolved quickly and capriciously, and unconvincingly.) But Robert Taylor, at least, is relaxed and unaffected (especially compared to this diphthong-happy trio), and Spring Byington expertly indulges in a ditsy-rich-lady characterization you'd more likely expect from Billie Burke or Alice Brady (who, in fact, played the role in the 1933 version). The real star is the set designer -- I don't know about you, but I want that weekend house of Byington's, with its water wheel and clear lake and Better Homes and Gardens design.
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A Morality Tale
judithh-111 January 2014
"When Ladies Meet" is the story of a married couple, a lady author and a charming single journalist. Joan Crawford, the author, considers herself a "modern woman" freed from tiresome conventions and moral imperatives. Despite the movie's 1941 date, the author's relativistic attitude toward marriage and fidelity would be right at home in today's left-wing intellectual circles. Her gradual evolution towards a different attitude is the meat of the movie. Mirroring the situation in her book is the situation of the married couple, Greer Garson and Herbert Marshall. The fourth member of the group is Robert Taylor as a journalist whose surface gaiety hides a serious moral foundation.

The four actors make the movie much better than the script. Garson and Crawford strike sparks off each other in every scene they share. Herbert Marshall is suitably smooth and sleazy. But it's Robert Taylor in a role involving physical comedy whose work is the most impressive. As it turns out, he is the person most grounded in reality--and the hidden hand behind everything.

Everything has the expected MGM gloss--extravagant costumes, beautiful sets, excellent photography. Highly recommended.
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A great film tribute to two amazing actresses
cesmith727 April 2006
I find the previous reviewer's comment about Greer and Davis' fans insulting. Every actor has their own way of acting.

Garson did an outstanding job in this film. Here MGM's big female stars (the older of the famous stars) are set to play opposite each other. One fighting to get the man, while the other fights to keep him. It is an amazing transition film, foreshadowing Crawford's replacement by Garson in a smooth and flattering setting to both of their incredible skills.

You can't compare their acting styles to each other when they are so different. "When Ladies Meet" is a showcase for both of their styles and they compliment each other.

This is a classic. I only wish they would put it out on DVD.
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The Greer Garson show
doc_brown9 May 2004
Simple story, but some of the acting is marvelous, especially Greer Garson, who literally steals the movie. It was almost embarrassing to watch Joan Crawford try to act next to her. The difference of talent between the two women is unmistakable---Garson is leagues ahead.

Robert Taylor was also excellent, playing the mischievous suitor, comically bent on winning Joan Crawford's Mary Howard. I had previously only seen him melodrama, so watching him play a comedic role was very refreshing.

The story is a bit slow, but it picks up when Crawford and Garson meet towards the end of the picture. The dialog there is smart and thought provoking, and the talent of Garson really shines through.

Not a great movie, but worth a rental to catch some good acting from two of the studio era's greatest stars.
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No Ladies I Know Behave This Way....
Keedee23 October 2001
...but perhaps I don't know a lot of true ladies. I'm more shocked that Joan Crawford got top billing in this delightful little farce. Greer Garson stole the show and Robert Taylor's role was dashing and quite likeable. Spring Byington played the perfect hostess for the weekend "Dish of the Dames". The truly unbelievable thing was the casting of Herbert Marshall as Rogers Woodruff. Hard to imagine one woman, let alone two having such rapturous feelings for that character. Perhaps there's the reality in this story. After all, these things are rarely understood. I found, in this case, "When Ladies Meet", to be quite entertaining and being a die-hard Greer Garson fan, I highly recommend it!!
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Declare It A Draw
bkoganbing27 December 2007
When Ladies Meet was the second version of Rachel Crothers play that was on Broadway in the early Thirties. And of course by the title you can tell it's one of those 'women's' pictures. The type of women who lead lives very much different than most women in Depression Era America.

Taking over the roles in the first film version played by Ann Harding and Myrna Loy are Joan Crawford and Greer Garson. Crawford's a novelist who's being given the full courtship by her publisher Herbert Marshall. This is an old game for Marshall who keeps two timing his wife Greer Garson who's perennially taking him back.

But we've got a fourth in the mix here in the person of playboy Robert Taylor. Taylor's taking over for Robert Montgomery and while he doesn't quite have Montgomery's light touch for drawing room comedy, still puts over his part with aplomb.

Still this film is a battle for the women and I'd have to declare it a draw. Crawford too is a bit out of her league, she's going for a part that her rival Norma Shearer would have played let alone Ann Harding in the first version. But Garson is very well cast as the ever forgiving wife.

And Herbert Marshall? I can't think of a more dignified philanderer ever in screen history. He plays it as noble and as righteous as Horace Giddens in The Little Foxes where he was a wronged party.

This version of When Ladies Meet is not a bad one and two of the stars are showing a bit of range in not playing parts they normally would be in.
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dated comedy/drama from MGM
blanche-227 April 2006
"When Ladies Meet" stars Joan Crawford, Greer Garson, Robert Taylor, Herbert Marshall, and Spring Byington. It's a talky film obviously based on a play that starts out somewhat typically: A woman falls for a married man, but her boyfriend still loves her. The film turns to something else altogether "when ladies meet," i.e., the other woman and the wife. Greer Garson is the wife, married to Herbert Marshall, who plays Crawford's publisher, Rogers Woodruff, Crawford is Mary, the author/other woman, Taylor is the boyfriend, Jimmy, and Spring Byington is Bridget, a friend, in whose country house the big confrontations take place.

Like Norma Shearer's vehicle, "Her Cardboard Lover," a year later, this film looks and plays like a '30s leftover. Everyone is very good, and if Robert Taylor's broader attempts at comedy are a little forced, his physical comedy is quite funny, the scene in the boat being one of the best. Unlike his 20th Century Fox counterpart, Tyrone Power, Taylor was uncomplicated and not very ambitious. Devastatingly handsome, he was content at MGM for over 20 years - his big complaint once he was out of there was that he didn't know how to make dinner reservations. MGM would force Crawford out with bombs such as "Under Suspicion" two years later, but here, she gets top billing and does a good job as a woman who still has her romantic illusions. While Crawford and Taylor have comic moments, Herbert Marshall's role has none - he's deadly serious and oh, so sincere as he breathes his love for Mary.

But the show belongs to Greer Garson,. She has the best and the most sympathetic role as a woman who, despite numerous affairs, has loved and clung to her man. This and the constant talking make the movie somewhat dated - what woman would put up with such a serial philanderer after all (or, rather, admit to it) - but her character is extremely likable, her words heartfelt, her pain palpable, and she's stunning to look at as well.

Definitely worth seeing for the wonderful stars but not up to the usual quality of films these actors did. MGM was obviously going through a transition and recycling old material when the '40s hit. I think the 1933 version of this was probably superior if only due to it being more of its time.
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A lot to enjoy
misctidsandbits24 September 2011
Hey, I like both versions of this film. Not into parsing them either. The assembled talent, story, parts, clothes, set. This is the kind of movie I like to watch multiple times. First, watch the movie through. Then, maybe follow separate characters through. There's a lot going on simultaneously. Then, watch the clothes. Then, check out the house, furniture, etc. There was so much style put into these. All of these elements are what made these 30's and 40's films so special. I don't understand why all the comparisons and nitpicking.

In both versions, the lady of the country house is something of a wonder - Spring Byington here. I like the Jimmy part a lot, and thought both actors did him well. He's the kind of guy who makes a wonderful friend, though he could get on your nerves at times. He's a young man who will settle down and make a good husband, reliable and good company along the way. Woodruff was an older man who hadn't settled down, self-centered, made a bad husband and rather a dullard actually.

I think the sorting out between the women worked for both of them. The wife shook off the dead weight or drew her line anyway; the "girl friend" woke up from her naive daydream. We hope the husband woke up as well. Looks like Jimmy has a chance to come out on top as well!

What's there to be so cynical about?
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Love Story of art imitating Life
Sonya Troncoso19 January 2014
Joan Crawford plays Mary Howard, a novelist in love with her publisher who can't seem to finish her latest manuscript about a woman in love with a married man. In a case of art imitating life, Mary much like her literary heroine believes Rogers Woodruff will leave his wife and forge a future together with her. To make things complicated, Mary is relentlessly pursued by handsome Jimmy played by charming Robert Taylor. Although she likes Jimmy, Mary turns down his marriage proposals saying she prefers to remain friends. Instead, Mary arranges a getaway weekend at the home of ditsy friend Bridgi (wonderfully acted by Spring Byington) so she can see Rogers. The plot thickens when Jimmy accidentally runs into Woodruff's wife (played by Greer Garson) and invites her on an outing where they "get lost" and find themselves at Bridgi's cottage. The story is an interesting one as Jimmy fails to tell anyone about Claire's true identify. Claire Woodruff is also in the dark about the woman, Jimmy is trying to make jealous. Throw in a thunderstorm and Jimmy's plan that inevitably sends Woodruff away on a wild goose chase so that the two women can meet, makes this film worth seeing. Both Joan and Greer Garson turn in solid performances. The acting is a bit stylized, characteristic of the 1940s but both women are appealing in their roles. Spring Byington almost steals the show with her funny character portrayal of Bridgi. The dialogue is crisp and Bridgi provides comic relief and helps the story flow. Stranded at the cottage, Mary and Claire strike a friendship and genuinely like each other. It doesn't take Mary long to know that Claire is married and confesses Jimmy is only trying to make her jealous."When ladies meet" has powerful scenes and the viewer is in on the secret of their connection as it cleverly unfolds to the two women. The dialogue is honest and the reveal ultimately helps Mary's writer's block to help her finish her novel. I highly recommend "When Ladies Meet."
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What Women Don't Know About Women!
mark.waltz31 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The comparisons to Crawford's previous other women role in 1939's "The Women" will be many, but her character of Mary is as far from Crystal Allen as Green Garson's Claire is from Norma Shearer's overly noble Mary Haines. Novelist Crawford is in love with her publisher (Herbert Marshall) who is married to Garson, a witty woman who doesn't give any indication of why any man would cheat on her. Delightfully pleasant without being overly grand, Garson is an ideal wife, while Crawford incorrectly believes the wife she's never met (and knows nothing about) isn't exciting enough to care about. Thanks to Crawford's nosy admirer (Robert Taylor in a performance I found truly annoying), everybody ends up together at the country home of their dizzy friend, Spring Byington, where a friendly conversation between the two women brings everything out even though they have no idea of who the other one really is.

It is the long conversation between Crawford and Garson that stands out in this light-hearted romantic drama with definite comic overtones where wife and girlfriend (Crawford is certainly more important to Marshall than just a mistress) bond, discover the truth and come to some conclusions. The men too learn a thing or two about the women they love, loathe or cheat on, so everybody manages to grow up a little.

Rather dicey in the exploration of Byington's seemingly live-in relationship with a man she isn't married to. This is a rare example of how writers managed to get away with certain details that were overlooked by the very tough production code. Byington's dizzy Dora can be quite annoying at times, but ultimately you like her as well because she means well. Taylor, though, plays a truly meddlesome Lothario and the result, at least for me, was that I didn't want to see his character end up with anyone when everything comes out. It is Crawford and Garson who shine the most, their pairing obviously more congenial off-screen than Crawford's was with Shearer during the making of "The Women". The respect their characters have for each other during their introductory scenes shines through their admiration for each other personally.

A bit livelier than the original 1933 version, it focuses more on the light-heartedness here than the Ann Harding/Myrna Loy pairing did with that version's Noel Coward like drawing room comedy. That version featured a more memorable performance by the hostess character (Faye Bainter) who didn't play her like a dumbbell. The country setting of Byington's old barn turned into a country home is the visual highlight of the film, with a huge waterwheel churning water into the man-made pool, shrubbery surrounding the house and pond, and a quaint interior which is truly a delight to explore. This weekend in the country would be a delight just for that.
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Not what you think...
JasparLamarCrabb16 August 2014
Warning: Spoilers
At first glance one would think this meeting of Joan Crawford & Greer Garson would end up a camp classic. It doesn't, thanks largely to the presence of the classy (nearly regal) Garson and the absence of any real howlers in the script. Crawford is an author in love with her publisher (Herbert Marshall). Trouble making Robert Taylor creates a situation that allows Crawford to meet Marshall's wife and what could have been a Cukoresque bitch-fest is instead a fairly involving romantic comedy. Director Robert Z. Leonard keeps a tight reign on things, with Garson's even keeled performance rubbing off on the usually over-the-top Crawford. These ladies actually have real chemistry and their abetted by an unusually strong cast. In addition to Marshall and Taylor, there's the inimitable Spring Byington as Crawford's confidante, a flighty society doyenne who turns out to be a bit brighter than expected. Byington also appeared in the 1932 stage production.
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Surprising Upgrade
ecapital4613 September 2014
Very seldom is the remake of a film better than the original, but this film is pleasantly one of the few exceptions. First of all, it is unknown to this reviewer why this film was remade so soon. Generally, film remakes are done after a generation of time has passed (20 years), but this film was remade just 8 years after the original in 1933. In addition, the original film cast was led by a cadre of Hall of Fame performers in their own right - Myrna Loy, Alice Brady, Frank Morgan, Ann Harding, and Robert Montgomery. You'd figure with a cast this good, how is any remake going to improve on those performances? Logical question. Yet, remarkably the five leads in this remake, pound for pound, improve on each of the original performances.
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Not bad but not great either.
tommary196223 June 2005
One of Crawford's lesser films, though enjoyable in a very mild way. While she has some good support from Spring Byington (who steals the film out from under everyone), Crawford is saddled with the oh-so-boring Greer Garson, who barely lasted 10 years as a film actress. Garson is neither fish nor fowl here. She walks through the role as though she is anxious to finish in order to keep an engagement at McDonalds! Garson's legion of fans (10 I am sure) may wish to say she could out act Crawford, but Garson is hardly remembered at all today outside of Mrs. Miniver, Random Harvest and Sunrise at Campobello. Garson was a good actress - not a great one.

The lines are mostly trite and it is amazing that that Rachel Crothers penned this light weight nonsense.

A sense that LB Mayer's days were numbered sets in during MGM's golden years. Dumping Crawford for people like Garson and Garland was, in the end, not the wisest move and one that his bosses did not agree with. By the time LB Mayer was fired by MGM in 1951, both Garson and Garland were gone and never worked much in films again (I am a big Garland fan, but these are facts). Crawford, on the other hand, went on to out work all of her contemporary actors and had a fairly diverse film career lasting from 1925's silent days well into the mid 1970s.

Had Mayer given Crawford Mrs. Miniver and Random Harvest as he should have done, MGM would have seen Crawford win the Oscar as opposed to WB.

In 1946, when Mildred Pierce premiered, Mayer tried hard to get JC back to MGM ("Why aren't WE making films like this with actresses like you??"). Thankfully, she was savvy enough to stay with WB.
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Bad beyond belief
todlane041 January 2008
Romance novelist Joan Crawford falls in love with married publisher Herbert Marshall. Crawford meets his wife, Greer Garson, at the home of loopy blabbermouth Spring Byington. Hard to say which is sillier, the acting, the plot, the dialog, the furniture or the clothes. Bad beyond belief. Hollywood at its phoniest. Reissued with the title "Strange Skirts," this has to be a drag queen's dream come true and a feminist's worst nightmare. A women's picture in the worst sense of the phrase. At one point, Greer Garson says "I've discovered it doesn't pay to be capable. Husbands don't approve." Herbert Marshall, supposedly a Don Juan, acts more like an undertaker. Points of interest: the producer's name is Dull, Joan Crawford and Greer Garson duet on a tune that's possibly the worst movie song ever, Robert Taylor and Herbert Marshall drive the exact same car, Spring Byington's rather effeminate male escort is her "decorator," and Joan Crawford's spacious Manhattan apartment is in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge but she blithely leaves her front door unlocked while she gardens and sprays DDT wearing white elbow length gloves that match her dress and hat. Unintentional laughs galore.
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Not So Hot
utgard1416 January 2014
Mary (Joan Crawford) is a novelist who's in love with her married publisher (Herbert Marshall). Her friend and implied booty call Jimmy (Robert Taylor) is in love with her. So Jimmy decides to engineer things so Mary and the publisher's wife (Greer Garson) are thrown together. This is a strange one. A mixture of comedy and "women's picture," Joan doesn't seem quite right for the part. Nor does Taylor seem right as a guy who has to beg a girl to choose him over the likes of Herbert Marshall. It's got lots of MGM gloss and a nice cast. Garson shines best. But it's all surprisingly dull. This is also one of the Joan movies where she wore the shoulder pads she would become famous for. It might even be the first. I'm not a big fan of that look for her but it would dominate her public image in the decades after. Strong jaw, heavy eyebrows, big shoulder pads. Tacky. But it's more subtle here. It gets worse later.
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Interesting for completists
HeathCliff-24 September 2010
I had a bit of hard time sticking with this movie to the end. I don't normally force myself to watch movies that are lugubrious, but I was curious on several fronts. Firstly, this movie has been out of release, and only recently available through Warner Archives/ Classic Flix, so I'm one of those completists curious to see it. I find as time goes by, that the artifice of the MGM glossy films circa 1940 to 1945 done in this exact high-style - lavish sets and costumes, arch dialogue, drawing-room sensibilities - are hard to take - and I'm someone who is forgiving of, and loves, old movies! I'm fascinated by the MGM pix of this period because of how many are quite bad - and while "Metro" was riding the wave of its success, these films were the beginning of their undoing, as well. This was generally a really bad period for Joan Crawford, as we all know, saddled with mostly bad material, and hampered by her aspiration to be "a great lady of cinema" a la Norma Shearer. Her personal upward mobility from humble roots tainted her work, because she had a personal need to assume the drawing- room enunciation and lady-of-the-manor mannerisms, both of which are so phony in this film - and a blatant contradiction to her natural street-smart roots. I find Joan painfully bad in this movie - so needing to be who she's not. As I watched, I ached for her to shake off her personal psychodrama, as she would 4 years later when she was pushed to authenticity with Mildred Pierce - probably the first time on-camera that there was real grit and edge in her performance, that something was scraped away and you could feel her rawness. The catalyst, for the breakthrough, as we know, was that her artistic and professional career were in jeopardy. As for Greer Garson, her natural charisma, grace and screen presence are quite astonishing - she just draws your eye, and radiates. It's so easy to see why she became a star so quickly, and why audiences (and Louis B. Mayer) loved her. Not the best actress, but very natural in front of a camera, and luminous. I am in conflict with other writers here about Herbert Marshall, who I have always been attracted to for his otherworldly calm and inner sense of goodness. I can see the attraction, even though he isn't overtly dazzling, like Robert Taylor. I find Taylor, like Crawford, is a "movie star" more than actor, and you see him trying to rise to the occasion here in a persona and style of acting that is not in sync with who he is. As I watched, I speculated that this role might have been written for Clark Gable circa 1941 - mischievous, winking, self-aware, dashing, irrascible - but Taylor's performance was forced, a carbon copy of Gable or Robert Montgomery, or even Ray Milland (though he was actually better than I would have expected.) I also found Spring Byington a copy of Alice Brady and Billie Burke - not bad, but a bit forced, like Robert Taylor and Joan Crawford. In fact, I could imagine this script written for Gable, Claudette Colbert and other stars - but they cast who was available. As for the costumes, they weren't as over the top as some MGM films, but, as someone else commented, that ludicrous gardening outfit that Joan Crawford wears - an enormous picture hat, a padded-shoulder dress with gingham inserts that carries through to a matching gingham trim on the hat, and the same fabrics on the elbow- length gardening gloves - is fabulously preposterous, and an embodiment of the total disconnect from reality that infuses this movie. As for the plot, it's dated drawing-room fare with a single mise-en-scene that worked for me -- when the two "ladies" finally realize their respective identities. There was genuine tension and emotion, and a certain authenticity in tone and feelings. Other than that, MGM cake frosting.
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The Ladies Should Never Have Met **1/2
edwagreen30 April 2006
"When Ladies Meet" boasts a fine cast of Robert Taylor, Joan Crawford, Greer Garson and Spring Byington. The film is a classic stinker and I will tell you why.

Crawford, a book writer, has designs on the editor, a play-boy played with little relish by Herbert Marshall. His early scenes are very stiff-like. He needed to breakout as he did with Bette Davis in "The Little Foxes."

Taylor showed a flair for comedy but he is often silly. Handsome as the day is long, this romantic idol obviously smoked himself to death with his constant puffing throughout the film. No wonder he had a premature death, at age 59, in 1969.

Byington is humorous but a little too much to take during the thunderstorm sequence. Her churlish ditsy behavior would have been appropriate had she been a munchkin in "The Wizard of Oz."

It is with the meeting of Crawford and Garson that the picture begins to show dramatic depth. Cad Taylor has arranged it so that Garson can discover that Crawford has been having an affair with an unfaithful equally cad Marshall. It is only when that Taylor discovers that Garson is married to Crawford that she finally discovers ethics and ends the affair. We needed more of a fighting Crawford and not one who caves in to a lovely Garson. The latter acts like she is in rehearsal for "Mrs. Miniver" that followed in 1942.
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The movie is worth the rental cost
Rastamon4125 October 2006
I bought this movie starring Joan Crawford, Greer Garson and Robert Taylor and the earlier version starring Myrna Loy, Robert Montgomery and Ann Harding. I have to say they should have used Myrna Loy rather than Joan Crawford in the new version, because Greer Garson stole the movie. Joan Crawford spent most of the earlier part of the movie fumbling with her exotic gown, in an attempt to draw attention to the gown and the person wearing it, which of course is Joan Crawford.

If you get past Joan Crawford non-acting, and Herbert Marshall stiffness, then the movie is rather funny. Greer Garson and Robert Taylor carry this movie, if is rather funny, but I can't understand why any woman would prefer Herbert Marshall over the suave and good looking Robert Taylor. You ladies reading this review, please explain that to me. Even though I like this movie, I think the acting in earlier version was better especially Myrna Loy's acting. She is a better actress than Joan Crawford, at least in these two similar movies.

This movie is a two woman in love with the same man Herbert Marshall (Rogers Woodruff), Greer Garson (Clare) is his wife, and Joan Crawford (Mary) is his lover. Why would these two beautiful women love this stiff man, I don't know, especially when they could both have Robert Taylor. Robert Taylor (Jimmy) is Joan Crawford's (Mary) old boyfriend, who realized that Herbert Marshall (Clare's husband, Rogers Woodruff) is not in love with Mary, he just wanted to sleep with her, he warns Mary, but she don't believe him, so he introduce Mary to Clare without telling Mary that Clare is Rogers Woodruf's wife, whom he Rogers Woodruff still loves. Once Mary finds out that Rogers Woodruff was lying to her, and only using her, she stated she is ashamed of her life and ashamed for sleeping with him, she also realized that the person who really loves her and really cares for her is Jimmy, you guess it. Jimmy finally gets her girlfriend back, who ends up being his wife, who will give him the six kids he wants, or maybe only two.
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Joan Crawford versus Greer Garson
Pat-5423 September 1998
Joan Crawford is the star of this film, but Greer Garson steals every scene she's in. Crawford also realized that the Garson was being given all the plum parts at M-G-M, and one year after this film was made, Crawford left the studio that had been her home since 1925.
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With this cast, the film should have been a lot better.
MartinHafer29 March 2010
This film earns a 6 purely because of the good acting and the usual MGM polish. However, the plot itself really disappointed--it should have been a lot better.

The film begins with a writer (Joan Crawford) all giddy because she's fallen in love with a man (Herbert Marshall). The problem, however, is that he's married! And the man who inexplicably wants Crawford (Robert Taylor) decides the best way to break up this elicit romance is to introduce the "other woman" to the sweet and very, very long-suffering wife (Greer Garson). However, there are many, many problems with the plot:

1. Why would Marshall want Crawford? Garson is a lovely wife and generally played Mary Poppins-like wives that are "practically perfect in every way" in all her films.

2. Why would Taylor want a woman who is having an affair with a married man?

3. Why would Garson put up with Marshall when she knows about his many infidelities?

4. Why would the two women handle the affair so civilly and nicely? While not every wife would "get Jerry Springer" on the other woman, almost none would be as sickeningly sweet, forgiving and understanding. And, for that matter, the other woman by her very nature is selfish--why would she suddenly feel guilty?

5. Why would the audience want to see such a tame "altercation"? There were no fireworks....nothing!

Overall, an incredibly dull film with lovely acting (particularly by Garson) and a nice polish. So, it looks good but is pretty empty. And, now that I think about it, a lot like the similarly dull "The Grass is Greener".
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Though not Crawford's best 1941 film . . .
Hot 888 Mama18 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
. . . (that would be A WOMAN'S FACE), this movie has the novelty of being the only pairing between the old face of MGM--Crawford--and the Roaring Lion's new visage, the future Mrs. Miniver herself, Greer Garson. Crawford's tyrannical ways had worn out her welcome at Tara, and Garson was several years away from ruining her own Reign on the Mane by wedding "Mrs. Miniver's" son in Hollywood's version of reality. However, when Joan and Greer's characters finally get to have their wildly-anticipated heart-to-heart toward the end of WHEN LADIES MEET, there is no talk of wire hangers or virtual incest. Instead, they have a highly contrived conversation about a "hypothetical" love triangle that the viewers already know is Hyper-Actual. Herbert Marshall's performance as the man in their middle is so smarmy that it's hard to imagine the women in a theater audience NOT loudly hissing collectively whenever he's on-screen. On the other hand, Robert Taylor as a thinner, wise-cracking good guy with a mustache is so similar to William Powell or Don Ameche's usual performances, it's surprising that those three were not born triplets in real life.
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Truth and Consequence....
rbrb17 March 2012
Entertaining flick, taken from a stage play.

Writer is in love with her womanizer publisher who is already married.

The writer's boy friend for his own motives sets the writer up to meet the publishers' wife with interesting consequences.

The picture starts slowly but gets a up a head of steam and:

I expected an explosive climax, but this is not that kind of film, nevertheless a clever story with an intelligent script.

In my opinion the 2 male leads ought to have switched roles.In any event an enjoyable and watchable movie deserving:

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It's All About The Written Word
tolerford-122 August 2011
Overlooking the poor acting in everyone but Byington, the silly wardrobe and the slow plot, the screen writing adapted from the novel hits the nail on the head, coming to its climactic precision in the conversation between Garson and Crawford near the end. The writing in that scene from 1941, though I don't read romance novels, I would bet outshines any similar effort in any romance novel since. It's intricate, well-woven, and so comprehensible it resonates.

The author of the novel, I learned here at IMDb, has many other works. That doesn't surprise me.

There were snatches where both Garson and Crawford were good, but they were just moments. Taylor and Marshall left a lot to be desired, but Byington was adorable as usual, as the flibbertigibbet. Even when she overdoes it, you know better is coming fast.
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