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She Married Her Boss (1935)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 19 September 1935 (USA)
A super-efficient secretary at a department store falls for and marries her boss, but finds out that taking care of him at home (and especially his spoiled-brat daughter) is a lot different from taking care of him at work.

Director:

Gregory La Cava

Writers:

Sidney Buchman (screenplay), Thyra Samter Winslow (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Claudette Colbert ... Julia Scott
Melvyn Douglas ... Richard Barclay
Michael Bartlett ... Leonard 'Lennie' Rogers
Raymond Walburn ... Franklin
Jean Dixon ... Martha Pryor
Katharine Alexander ... Gertrude Barclay
Edith Fellows ... Annabel Barclay
Clara Kimball Young ... Parsons
Grace Hayle ... Agnes Mayo (as Grace Hale)
Charles Arnt ... Victor Jessup
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Harrison Greene Harrison Greene ... Fat Shopper
Dave O'Brien ... Shopper
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Storyline

A super-efficient secretary at a department store falls for and marries her boss, but finds out that taking care of him at home (and especially his spoiled-brat daughter) is a lot different from taking care of him at work.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Grand in her Greatest! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 September 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

She Wanted Her Boss See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Prints now carry the modernized Columbia logo and 1938 re-release opening and closing credits. See more »

Quotes

Annabel Barclay: I don't like you.
Martha Pryor: I'm sure I could learn to like you, if you were roasted.
See more »

Soundtracks

Hearts and Flowers
(uncredited)
Music by Alphons Czibulka
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User Reviews

 
Claudette Colbert as a Smurfette.
13 August 2005 | by F Gwynplaine MacIntyreSee all my reviews

I used to deal in old-movie memorabilia. In the 1960s, while running a stall in the Portobello Road, I acquired and resold a full-colour poster for 'She Married Her Boss'. What a bizarre piece of artwork! The poster depicted Claudette Colbert with blue eyes, blue hair, and blue skin: she looked a proper Smurfette, or perhaps an Oompa-Loompa. Worse luck, the blue Colbert was placed against a background in the same shade of blue, making her seem to vanish altogether ... except for her lips, which were bright red. For decades, I wanted to view this movie to find out if it was as weird as the poster art.

It turns out to be even weirder. Who designed the costumes here? In the opening scene, Colbert wears a dress with some nice gauntlet cuffs, but it also has a titchy little bow-tie and a pair of lapels the size and shape of an aircraft carrier. In a later scene, Jean Dixon wears an outfit with what appears to be a springboard jutting out of her left shoulder. In the final sequence, Colbert sports raccoon shoulder pads that are so enormous she looks like a linebacker.

This is a screwball comedy, but it's screwier than it needs to be. Michael Bartlett plays a lounge lizard who charms Colbert by telling her she ought to have a mole on her chin. (Ugh!) You know those horribly phony camera set-ups in which an actor sits at a piano keyboard, pumping his elbows, and we're expected to believe he's playing? Bartlett does that here, in one of the fakest versions I've ever seen.

On the positive side, there's a stand-out performance by 12-year-old Edith Fellows as a spoilt brat. Fellows was an immensely talented child actress who had the misfortune to be much less pretty than Shirley Temple, so she got lumbered with Virginia Weidler roles. Colbert hauls Fellows offscreen and gives her a spanking, which would have been funnier if shown on screen. I was delighted by the performance of Raymond Walburn as Melvyn Douglas's butler: amiable, loyal and eventually drunken. Walburn usually played blustering shysters or roguish criminals, so it's a pleasure to see him given this change of pace. Grace Hayle, a character actress whose heavy physique usually cast her in buffoonish roles, is personable here in a nice bit role as Colbert's assistant.

Although the plot is unbelievable (even by screwball comedy standards), individual set pieces are delightful and funny. Colbert and Bartlett host a cocktail party in the shop window of Douglas's department store, with shop dummies as the guests.

The climax of the movie is meant to be funny and romantic, but I found it saddening and maddening. Douglas pretends to abduct Colbert at gunpoint: we know he's faking, but she doesn't and she's evidently terrified. Douglas and Walburn, both drunk to the eyebrows, take Colbert speeding through the city in Douglas's motorcar, the stonkered Walburn at the wheel whilst an undercranked camera shows the car speeding wildly through the streets. I can laugh at comedy based on drunkenness, but it stops being funny when the drunks grab a steering wheel: there have been so many drink-driving tragedies, I just can't laugh at the notion of an inebriate operating a car.

Talking of booze: this movie was directed by Gregory La Cava, a hugely talented and under-rated director who ruined his career through alcoholism. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but quite a few of La Cava's films -- including this one -- depict characters who solve their problems by getting drunk. I'll rate 'She Married Her Boss' 7 out of 10, but I wish someone could explain this movie's weird Smurfette poster and those ridiculous costumes.


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