Movie Mirrors Index

That Certain Woman

(1937 b 94')

En: 5 Ed: 5

A gangster's widow is loved by her married boss and marries a wealthy man, but his father gets it annulled.

Mary Donnelly (Bette Davis) is the widow of a gangster but refuses to let writer Virgil Whitaker (Hugh O'Connell) write a book about her. Mary works for the married lawyer Lloyd Rogers (Ian Hunter), who cares for her. Jack Merrick (Henry Fonda) calls Mary for a date. Virgil publishes a story about Mary. Jack arrives late, and Mary says they are only friends. Jack is wealthy, but Mary wants him to work. Lloyd tells Jack that Mary was married at 15 to a gangster. Lloyd asks Mary if she wants to marry Jack and encourages her. Jack's father J. B. Merrick (Donald Crisp) finds where they have eloped and slaps Jack, who said he stopped drinking. Lt. Neely (Sidney Toler) says that Mary had been arrested and questioned about her late husband. Mary goes home and says she will wait.

Mary has a baby and says no to Virgil, who says that Jack was just married in Paris. Mary learns that Jack and his wife are unconscious after a car accident, and Lloyd sends Mary on a vacation. On her boy's fourth birthday Mary tells Amy (Mary Philips) that Lloyd is ill. Tilden tells Mary that Lloyd has disappeared and suspects her of luring him away from his wife. Weak Lloyd goes to Mary and says he asked for a divorce. He asks to stay with Mary; but she asks Tilden to take him home. As a doctor treats Lloyd, his wife (Katharine Alexander) tells Mary that Lloyd wants to see her. Mary puts Lloyd's hand in his wife's; but the news reports a fight and that Lloyd left Mary $500,000.

Jack calls on Mary and says he has not drunk since the accident, and he is working; his wife Flip is crippled. Jack thought of adopting Mary's boy, and now he realizes he is the father and dotes on him. J. B. Merrick sues Mary for the child. Jack objects and says he wants to marry Mary. Flip (Anita Louise) in a wheelchair calls on Mary and asks her to take Jack, because he loves her and for the boy even though Flip loves Jack. Mary says that she does not love Jack, and so Flip should keep him. Jack comes in and tells Mary it is all set. Mary tells Jack to stay with Flip, because they could not be happy. Jack leaves with Flip. Mary tells Amy to dress the boy and types a letter to Jack. Mary tells Amy to comfort the boy when he cries for his mother. Alone with his toys, Mary cries. Mary travels, and Virgil finds her. He tells her that Flip died and that Jack wants to talk to her. Mary eagerly talks on the phone with Jack.

This well acted drama portrays complex emotions in difficult circumstances. The prejudice of J. B. Merrick ruins a marriage, and Mary demonstrates extraordinary maturity and self-sacrifice in conceding to Flip.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

Movie Mirrors Index

BECK index