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Smarty

(1934 b 65’) En: 5 Ed: 4

A wife provokes her husband to hit her, gets a divorce, and marries her lawyer, only to run the pattern again back to her first husband.
      On her birthday Vicki Wallace (Joan Blondell) and her husband Tony Wallace (Warren William) prepare to go out; but when Vernon Thorpe (Edward Everett Horton) calls, Vicki invites him to come over to play bridge against the wishes of Tony. While playing bridge with Vernon and Anita (Claire Dodd) as George (Frank McHugh) watches, Vicki teases Tony until he hits her. Attorney Vernon suggests that Vicki could divorce Tony for cruelty and warns her not to go back to him, because that would be condonation. Vicki does not want to leave; so Anita volunteers to stay as a chaperone, and Tony leaves and drinks in the bar with George, who quips that love is an illusion that one woman is different from others.
      Tony does not contest the divorce in court, and the judge grants the divorce. Vicki marries Vernon, and they go shopping. Vernon tells her not to buy a revealing dress; but after he leaves, she buys it anyway. Tony with Bonnie (Joan Wheeler) and George call on Vicki. Tony brings her flowers and candy, losing a bet with George that Vicki would not say something tactless. Vernon comes home and sees Tony and Vicki in the dress in the bedroom. Vernon demands that Vicki change her dress but is persuaded by Tony not to insist. Vicki and Vernon argue. Vicki teases Vernon too, and he also hits her but not before any witnesses.
      Tony goes out with Bonnie. While George and Anita dine, Vicki locks Vernon out of her bedroom. Vernon says that Vicki is gone. She goes to Tony’s and waits for him. Vicki tells the valet she is leaving but sneaks back in. Tony brings Bonnie in, and Vernon calls looking for Vicki. Bonnie is married and drinks with Tony. After Bonnie goes in the kitchen, Vicki comes out of the bedroom. Tony admits that he still loves Vicki, who wants to return to him again as her husband. He tells her she cannot commute between husbands. George knocks, and Tony tells him to go; then Vernon and Anita come in. Vernon hears Vicki call and finds her on Tony’s bed in a robe. Vicki asks Vernon for a divorce, and he leaves. Tony tells Vicki to go, but he picks her up instead.
      This comedy of changing partners is said to have been one of the films that led to the strengthening of censorship over Hollywood movies.


Copyright © 2016 by Sanderson Beck

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