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Vincent Doane is in the precarious position of trying to close an advertising account with his rich ex-fiancée. Unfortunately she is more interested in him than in business. Vincent's wife Paula gets suspicious and finally decides to do some flirting of her own to make him jealous. Unknown to her, she chooses cigarette tychoon Claude Kimball. In fact, Kimball hits it off well with both of the Doanes. The question is whether or not their marriage can survive all the shenanigans. Written by
Gary Jackson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Comedy couple gets by where others might have soared
The title on the DVD I purchased of "An Innocent Affair" is different "Don't Trust Your Husband." It's a good comedy about that subject trust, in marriage. We have all seen various renditions of comedies on the subject. Cary Grant, has played in three or four different films himself. In this one, Fred MacMurray teams up with Madeleine Carroll as Vincent and Paula Doane. The story is a good one, with both stars on the end of jealousy and mistrust. They are both still deeply in love with one another after five years of marriage. But, Vince's job as an advertising executive sometimes takes him away from home at night. The problem starts when he tells a lie to cover up the real client he has been trying to sign for two weeks. He lies because he doesn't think Paula will trust or believe him because of whom that client is. It's all downhill from there, until the very end. But naturally, that's where we get most of the comedy.
It is a good film, but not much better than that. Several things seem askew, beginning with the script. It seems a little flat not much life in it. The same can be said for the direction. And, while both the leads do well in their roles, there just isn't any chemistry between them. I think Carroll, as a rule, is a bit more reserved than most of the main line comedy actresses (Carol Lombard, Irene Dunne, Claudette Colbert, Ginger Rogers, Myrna Loy, etc.). She did well, and there seemed to be some chemistry with MacMurray in "Honeymoon in Bali." I haven't seen their other two comedy pairings ("Café Society" of 1939 and "One Night in Lisbon," 1941). Carroll was quite good with Dick Powell in "On the Avenue," but the few other comedies she made didn't fare very well. She is a much better actress in her more frequent roles in adventure films and dramas.
Two other performances in this movie helped lift it up to the six stars I give it. Rita Johnson is very good as Eve Lawrence Vince's sister and Paula's good friend. And, Charles 'Buddy' Rogers is excellent as Claude Kimball, the tobacco king. He plays the southern gentleman perfectly with the shock and befuddled acceptance of what he sees as the most unusual marital arrangement between Vince and Paula. How he comes to that conclusion is all part of the humor of the film. This is a good comedy, and one with a more direct message than most about the relationship between honesty and trust. I could picture Cary Grant and Carol Lombard in the roles, or Irene Dunne with MacMurray. They would have raised the laughter bar a few notches.
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