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Man Wanted (1932)

Not Rated | | Romance, Comedy, Drama | 23 April 1932 (USA)
A female editor of a magazine falls in love with her male secretary.


William Dieterle


Robert Lord (story), Charles Kenyon (adaptation)

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Complete credited cast:
Kay Francis ... Lois Ames
David Manners ... Thomas 'Tom' / 'Tommy' Sherman
Una Merkel ... Ruth 'Ruthie' Holman
Andy Devine ... Andy Doyle
Kenneth Thomson ... Fred 'Freddie' Ames
Claire Dodd ... Ann Le Maire
Elizabeth Patterson ... Miss Harper, Lois' Secretary
Edward Van Sloan ... Mr. Walters, French & Sprague Manager
Robert Greig ... Harper (scenes deleted)
Frank Coghlan Jr. ... Youngster in Store (as Junior Coghlan)


Lois is the editor of the 400 Magazine and is a work-a-holic. When Tom comes to her office to sell her a rowing machine, he leaves as her personal secretary. After a short time, he is an executive decision maker who works closely with Lois, and he falls for her. But Lois is married to playboy Fred, and for that reason, Tom decides to marry Ruth and leave the firm. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Romance | Comedy | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

23 April 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Dangerous Brunette See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The Polo match was filmed at the Will Rogers Polo Club-Pacific Palisades, California. See more »


Lois Ames: You see, I've been having trouble with secretaries. The work is so uncertain. It needs a man. You understand that our relations will be purely of a business nature.
Thomas 'Tom': Of course, Mrs. Ames.
Lois Ames: It pays 50 a week and may develop into something better. That, of course, will be up to you.
Thomas 'Tom': Well, I shall certainly appreciate the chance, Mrs. Ames.
Lois Ames: Good.
See more »


Can't We Talk It Over
Music by Victor Young
Played on the piano when Lois and Freddie are at the restaurant
See more »

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User Reviews

Very good even though the main characters seem unlikable and selfish
23 December 2007 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This is a very interesting film and it's worth a look even though the main characters are mostly selfish and unlikable! Had they been more decent in how they treated others, I probably would have liked this film a lot more.

This film was made during the so-called "Pre-Code" era--when Hollywood pretty much ignored the Hays Office and films featured a lot of very adult topics. Some of this was great, as films were allowed to have topics discussed that probably would have been ignored once the new Production Code was enacted in 1934. Some of this freedom was not so great, as adultery was often encouraged and nudity pervaded even supposedly "family films" (such as BEN HUR (1927) and TARZAN AND HIS MATE). MAN WANTED does not have some of the cursing or nudity of some of these films, but it does seem to glorify or excuse away infidelity--providing a false image that there are no victims in these situations, as couples just cordially agree to part when they find better partners.

Kay Francis, a favorite of the more sensationalistic Pre-Code films, plays a hard-driving and seemingly asexual woman who runs a magazine that's been in her family for generations. Typical of the silly stereotype of the day, she is a woman who can't mix work and her personal life and her husband is basically a party animal who is half-intoxicated through most of the film. Into this lovely marriage comes a new secretary for Francis (David Manners). How she uses and abuses her secretaries actually bothered me a lot more than her contempt for her marriage. That's because her last secretary was fired with no notice or severance because the secretary objected to working 20 hour days again and again for Francis. Manners, it seems, has no life nor self-esteem and is more than willing to let Francis walk all over him. He is well paid for this, so Francis seems to take no notice for Manners' needs--even though it's becoming obvious that he's falling in love with her.

Now here we have two problems. First, considering that Francis is a cold and selfish career woman, how could Manners fall so hard for her? Sure, he might fantasize about her sexually (she was considered quite a looker in 1932--something viewers today will probably find hard to believe), but to marry such a person?! Second, while Manners isn't married in the film, he does have a fiancée (Una Merkel) and he treats her horribly--stringing her along even though it's obvious he doesn't love her. Merkel isn't exactly a huge prize, but she's decent--as was Manners' friend played by Andy Devine. In fact, this was one of Devine's best supporting performances--coming off as less comical and goofy than usual and more just a nice and sweet person.

All this ends exactly the way you'd expect--all according to formula. So there are both no likable characters and few surprises. So how does the movie STILL get a 6?! Well, the acting, directing and all were still very competent and the film is interesting to watch--keeping me focused throughout. Not a great film but a decent time-passer--just so long as you don't internalize the message that the film seems to be trying to make--that adultery ain't so bad after all!

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