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A struggling painter takes a job as a secretary to a female advertising executive. While working to obtain an account from a tobacco company, they end up falling in love. Written by
Ken Carson <email@example.com>
Claudette Colbert was scheduled to star, but when the actress had to replace Carole Lombard in "The Palm Beach Story" after her fatal plane crash, that opened up the part for Russell. See more »
You're a beautiful brain and beautiful clothes. No temperature, no pulse. That's all.
Where did you learn about women, Verney?
It isn't a matter of learning. It's instinct.
I'm a brain with no pulse, eh? I'm a woman, Verney, more woman than you'll ever know.
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At the end of the last scene, the camera zooms in on a billboard, which shows the closing credits...and an ad for the film's fictional tobacco company. See more »
It's too bad that director Mitchell Leisen wasn't working today and making Take A Letter Darling. If he did there would be a whole lot more explicit gender bending in this one.
Not that this film isn't good. In fact it's witty and bright and shows Rosalind Russell at her best. In her autobiography Russell describes this film as the first in her career woman roles. I'm supposing she isn't counting His Girl Friday, I guess Russell thought that Hildy Johnson had a job as a reporter as opposed to a career. After all she was trying all through the film to get away on her elopement and honeymoon with Ralph Bellamy.
But in Take A Letter Darling, Russell is a partner with Robert Benchley in an advertising agency. She can't keep a secretary and for good reason, she's got some specific night work requirements for a secretary and she demands the male gender as requirement number one.
In the gay world that Mitchell Leisen was part of, it's called hiring a beard. So many did it back in the day when the closet ruled. Many of the gay stars were always paired with public female dates lest there be any whispers about their sexuality. I'm sure it was the same in the business world.
Russell hires free spirited artist Fred MacMurray to squire her around and keep jealous wives at bay and to deter husbands from getting any ideas about some after office frolicking. In fact she sends MacMurray out to a favorite men's shop of hers where she gets him outfitted the same way Gloria Swanson took care of William Holden in Sunset Boulevard.
In real life Russell would have hired a gay man for her purposes, but since the mere mention of gay was out of the question, the heterosexist MacMurray is hired. They double team husband and wife George Reed and Margaret Hayes to land one account.
But an even bigger challenge presents itself with brother and sister tobacco heirs, Macdonald Carey and Constance Moore. Carey's been married four times already and Moore is a mint julep sucking southern belle who looks at MacMurray like a Virginia ham.
Take A Letter Darling holds up very well today although a knowledge of the mores of the times would certainly help younger viewers. This is definitely a film that could stand a remake, a more honest and explicit film about the practice of bearding.
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