In Rye, New York, wealthy Walter Craig loves his wife, Harriet Craig. Conversely, Harriet, unaware to Walter, married him solely for independence, she believing that love in the romantic sense only complicating marriage. She focuses all of her energies on ensuring that the house in which they live is maintained to her standards, where everything and everyone has their proper place, leading to the household domestics, who do what they're told regardless, having a sense of contempt for her under their breath. To Harriet, Walter is purely a means to the end of that perfect house. Without Walter having realized it, Harriet, as was her want, has isolated them in their house, his friends who have slowly distanced themselves from him in not wanting to deal with her. Besides the domestics, the only person allowed in the house is Walter's maternal Aunt Ellen, who lives with them in she being his protector against Harriet, unlike Walter's belief that he is taking care of her. Harriet wants the ...Written by
Before television, this kind of short melodrama was standard cinema fare. It's still fun to watch. The interior studio sets don't quite match the exterior studio sets and the people depicted always seem well-to-do. This false elegance is to movies of the 1930s what CGI is to movies of our era. Well, people go to the cinema in part to be dazzled.
This is a women's picture. The director was a woman, the screenplay was written by a woman and the main characters are women. And what a character Russell plays! The movie is a morality play structured around the faults of one character, Mr. Craig's wife. She obsessively wants to control everything to satisfy her need for security, or so goes the the pop psychology implied by the story.
Well-written television serials now deal with these kinds of characters. But I somehow prefer the slower pace of the 1930s version. I also like the little surprises. Watch for Billie Burke, the Good Witch of the North. You'll recognize the voice immediately.
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