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Hired Wife

(1940 b 96')

En: 6 Ed: 5

An executive pursues a model but marries his secretary to protect his finances from a suing competitor, and she won't give him a divorce.

Jose (John Carroll) gives Kendal Browning (Rosalind Russell) a ride, borrows $10, and says he is not getting married. Secretary Kendal notices that her boss Stephen Dexter (Brian Aherne) has spring fever. Stephen wants a model for a new ad campaign, and Kendal calls on Phyllis Walden (Virginia Bruce). Stephen has lunch with Phyllis while Kendal calls Phyllis it is off. In the office Kendal tells Stephen that Phyllis said no and is engaged; but Stephen tells Kendal he is going out with Phyllis. The General Cement board tells Stephen he is out, though Van Horn (Robert Benchley) disagrees their suit will win. William (Hobart Cavanaugh) offers Stephen money but must talk to his wife. Van Horn tells Stephen to get married right away. Stephen sends Kendal to convince Phyllis. Kendal says it is for financial reasons, and Phyllis assumes she is lying. Stephen asks Kendal, and they fly to Charleston to be wed by a judge. They return, and Van Horn has Stephen sign his property over to Kendal. Stephen thanks Kendal, who says she lied to Phyllis and him. He makes her go and fires her.

Stephen goes to Kendal, who owns him now. The office congratulates the couple. Phyllis calls on Stephen, who asks her to marry in two months. Phyllis learns that Kendal married Stephen, who still coaxes Phyllis. Kendal makes a date with Jose. Van Horn says that Kendal must live with Stephen, and Van Horn moves in too. Stephen dines with Phyllis, and Kendal joins them with Jose. Stephen dances with Kendal, who encourages Jose to go after Phyllis. Kendal implies that Jose is rich and sneaks him money for the check. Kendal goes home with Stephen. Van Horn snores and keeps Stephen awake. Phyllis does things with Jose, and Kendal pays his expenses. Stephen tells Kendal he wants a divorce, but she refuses. Van Horn says it could take Stephen five years. Stephen kisses Kendal, who resists. Van Horn says they could get an annulment in weeks if there was no marriage.

At breakfast Stephen tells Van Horn that Kendal went home, but she is there. Kendal thinks Stephen loves her and won't give up. The judge comes in and tells Stephen and Kendal they are not married, and Stephen declines to wed. He tells Phyllis they can marry, but Jose tells Kendal he is marrying Phyllis. Van Horn brings in checks, and Stephen realizes he pays for Jose. Stephen complains about Kendal as Phyllis denigrates Jose. Then they both realize they are in love and run after Kendal and Jose.

This comedy reflects the modern phenomenon of the love that can develop between a private secretary and a boss, suggesting that a business relationship can easily become personal and intimate.

Copyright © 2002 by Sanderson Beck

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