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Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Lucy tries to help her husband get ahead---and it ain't Ricky Ricardo!
Four years before "I Love Lucy", Lucille Ball had not yet found her niche as a movie star. Films had mostly typecast her as a hard boiled dame, and while she was called "Queen of the B's", she was not yet a household name. In this film, her first chance to show her talent as a comedienne, Lucy plays the wife of advertising exec Franchot Tone (real-life ex-husband of Joan Crawford). Lucy inspires her husband at every turn, eventually getting him attention as the man who advertised the most comfortable hat in the world. (So comfortable, in fact, a mayor was booed for wearing a hat during the Star Spangled Banner at a ballgame when he had no idea he was wearing one...) A wacky scientist convinces him to advertise a shaving and hair tonic which ends up causing more than its share of chaos.
While Lucy had done comedy before on-screen ("Go Chase Yourself" and "A Girl, A Guy, and a Gob" were typical RKO comedys of the late 30's and early 40's), she never had a chance to really be anything more than a hard-boiled wisecracker. These movies make her less likable than the equally wisecracking Eve Arden and did not portray her in a positive or feminine light. When both Eve and Lucy went onto do radio shows, their future as the first queens of primetime TV comedy were set in stone. (Check out Lucy and Eve in the drama with wisecracks, "Stage Door", and the entertaining comedy "Having Wonderful Time", both starring the more glamorous wisecracker, Ginger Rogers).
"Her Husband's Affairs" is a fast moving, but formula comedy, filled with some hysterical comic bits, but not as well done as her best pre-TV comedy, "The Fuller Brush Girl". Both films involve comic sequences involving hair. While "The Fuller Brush Girl" is hysterical throughout, there are only fleeting moments of hysterical laughter in this film (most memorably the scene where the defects of the shaving lotion is revealed). This film was made during her declining days at MGM at the then not yet major Columbia studios where Jean Arthur reigned as comedy queen and probably turned this film down before departing a few years before it was released. Shabbily treated by L.B. Mayer after some colorful "A" musicals, Lucy ended up on the bottom of the bill in secondary features such as this. The film features such great character actors as Grant Mitchell and Edward Everett Horton (here quite bald). Featured in a cameo is Columbia's biggest star Larry Parks as himself. "Her Husband's Wife" is sure to entertain as an example of what Lucy was really good at. If only the script was a little better.
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