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Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A piece in Film Comment in the 80s speculated that the opening titles of this movie (which have the two stars' last names in big letters side by side) might be where J.D. Salinger got the name "Holden Caulfield" for the main character in 'Catcher in the Rye', which he was writing when "Dear Wife" came out. See more »
Politics will cause Bill Holden to lose his Dear Wife
One of the very last of William Holden's 'Smiling Jim' roles was in this sequel to his popular Dear Ruth. The following year Holden was cast in Sunset Boulevard and that role forever changed his image and career direction.
'Smiling Jim' was a term Holden used himself to describe most of the parts he played from the beginning to Sunset Boulevard. He was always Mr. Nice Guy, everyone's All American hero who got the girl and settled down to the America dream. When Paramount bought the rights to Norman Krasna's play Dear Ruth it seemed that the part was tailor made for Holden.
Several players continued with their parts from Dear Ruth including Holden. Now Holden is married to Joan Caulfield, but they're living with her parents Edward Arnold and Mary Phillips and her ever helpful little Miss Fixit sister Mona Freeman. In fact she's the one who fixed up Holden and Caulfield in the first place.
But now the tension is there, the young couple wants to get out on their own, but can't afford it. A quarrel over the construction of a local airport in their town pits Arnold and Holden on opposite sides as Holden opposes Arnold for the State Senate. Billy DeWolfe, her snippy suitor is back trying to break them up and he's getting some unexpected help from Arleen Whelan who is Holden's assigned campaign manager. If the course of things doesn't change, Holden will lose his Dear Wife.
There would yet be a third film with some of these characters as Holden and Caulfield move on entitled Dear Brat which focuses on Mona Freeman and the trials she gives her parents. After that the series seemed to run its course.
Dear Wife is a pleasant, amiable, and easy to take film. But if Holden had kept doing these roles, his career would have sputtered to an end very soon.
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