After years of cooking and cleaning as a stay-at-home husband, William Tyler earns his PhD and is offered a college teaching position, allowing his breadwinning wife Maggie to quit her job as a high-level secretary at a swimwear company. Out of practice in the kitchen, Mrs. Tyler learns that a wife's domestic duties are harder than they seem. Written by
You're trying to subjugate me. You're trying to hold me down. You don't want me to be a brilliant young executive. You just want me to be a, a woman.
Well, if you try it once, you might like that, too!
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Screen Directors Playhouse: Apples on the Lilac Tree (1956)
*** 1/2 (out of 4)
Delightful comedy about a husband (Macdonald Carey) who stays at home doing all the cooking and cleaning while his wife (Joan Caulfield) goes out to work. The couple has agreed to do this so that the husband can get his education and when it leads to him getting his first job the wife quits her job to start taking care of the house and soon realizes that it's a lot harder than actually going to work. For the most part I think the Screen Directors Playhouse has delivered some rather lousy comedies but this episode makes up for that as there are non-stop laughs here and two very charming performances. I'm sure the idea of a man staying at home was a lot rarer than today so I'm guessing this would have gone over even bigger back in 1956. With that said, the material here is still so fresh and funny that anyone should be able to get a laugh out of it. Some of the highlights include a long sequence where the wife starts trying the cooking and fails miserably at it. There are the typical gags with her burning everything but Caulfield's performance is so good that she sells the material without any issues. Carey is also excellent in his part and I really loved the looks on his face every time something goes wrong with his wife's new job. The two of them share some wonderful chemistry that jumps off the screen and they really do come off as a real couple. Another funny sequence happens early on in the apartment hallway as three neighbors are sent off to work by their wives and then we see our main couple doing the opposite. Again, something that has probably been done several times but it's handled so well here that you can't help but laugh.
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