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Wife vs. Secretary

(1936 b 88')

En: 6 Ed: 6

A wealthy publisher loves his wife; but she gets jealous when he spends odd hours with his excellent secretary, who is also gorgeous.

Van Stanhope (Clark Gable) kisses his wife Linda (Myrna Loy) in the morning and thanks her for a nice evening. She finds a diamond bracelet in her breakfast trout. Publisher Van tells his secretary Whitey (Jean Harlow) that he wants to buy the News Weekly, and they call J. D. Underwood (George Barbier) from a telephone booth. Linda and Van's mother Mimi (May Robson) come to see Van's redecorated office. In the car Mimi tells Linda to get rid of the secretary, but Linda is not jealous. Whitey puts off a theater date with Dave (James Stewart) to run an errand for Van. Van dances with Linda and then goes upstairs with Whitey to work. Linda and Van invite Whitey to join the party, and Van dances with her. Whitey finds Dave asleep in a car at 2 a.m. He says he got a raise to $75 a week; but she doesn't want to quit her job.

Van calls on J. D., who suggests Van buy his News Weekly. Van tells Whitey to keep the secret. Van kisses Linda before dinner guests arrive. Whitey and Van ice skate as Dave and Linda watch. Dave tells Whitey millionaires ruin her for him. Van tells Linda he refused to promote Whitey, and Linda asks him to do so. He says he won't and goes to his club to play cards. Linda calls him; he rushes home, and they make up. Whitey suggests that Van go to the convention in Havana to see J. D. Linda is expecting it's her long-awaited vacation; but Van says he won't have time to see her and says good-bye. Whitey interviews an auditor and calls Van with new information. He asks her to fly there with the papers. They work on the contract until 4 a.m., and Whitey works all day too. Van meets with J. D. and closes the deal at midnight. Van joins Whitey to celebrate and gets drunk. He lays on the bed, and Whitey takes off his shoes. Whitey answers the phone, and Linda hangs up. Van calls back, and Linda hangs up again.

Van comes home and tries to explain, but Linda goes to Mimi's and cries. Mimi assumes the same as Linda. Van tells Linda he loves her and kisses her, but she doesn't respond. Van invites Whitey to go to Bermuda. Whitey goes to Linda just before her ship leaves and says she will lose Van if she goes now and that Whitey will only be second best. Whitey correctly predicts that Van will begin by buying her things. Whitey lets Linda into Van's office for their reunion. Whitey finds Dave waiting in his car. Dave says people have trouble because of trust. He suggests, "Believe in someone."

Elegant movie stars and fine direction enable the audience to identify with these characters in this dilemma that results from women being either wives or professionals while men get the best of both worlds.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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