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|Index||26 reviews in total|
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
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.
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.
...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!!
"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.
Simple story, but some of the acting is marvelous, especially Greer
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.
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?
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
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.
"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
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.
*** This review may contain 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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