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I Take This Woman

(1940 b 98')

En: 6 Ed: 7

A physician prevents a beautiful woman from committing suicide, and they fall in love and marry even though the man who broke her heart still wants to marry her.

         On a cruise ship at sea Georgi Gregor (Hedy Lamarr) is upset, puts on a fur coat, and goes out on deck to jump in the sea, but Dr. Karl Decker (Spencer Tracy) sees her and stops her. He puts her in a chair, checks her eyes, and summons a steward to get his medicine bag from his cabin and take it to hers. He goes to her room with her and tells her to get in bed. He tells her he is a doctor and pushes her into bed. The steward brings his bag, and he asks for a nurse. He gives her a pill to take, and the nurse comes in. He tells the nurse she has mild hysteria and goes out.

         The ship is coming in to New York, and Karl talks with Georgi. He gives her another pill. She says no one knows she is coming back. He advises her not to run away from people. She says she was a social secretary to a wealthy woman and a clothes horse to advertise clothes. He advises her to be useful. He says he was hunting microbes in the Yucatan. She thanks him, and he tells her how she can find him.

         Georgi goes to a fashion show. Madame Cesca (Veree Teasdale) learns that Georgi is there and welcomes her. Georgi hugs her and cries. They sit and talk. Georgi says she and Phil are finished. Georgi says he filed for divorce, and they had 48 hours of happiness. She says Bill Rogers called Phil and threatened to ruin his career. Georgi says she needs a real job. Cesca tells  Georgi that she held herself very high, and they think this will bring her down to their level. Cesca answers the phone and says Phil is coming over. Cesca sends Georgi to her apartment. On her way out Georgi sees Sandra Mayberry (Mona Barrie). She chats with Cesca and says Georgi is looking well. Cesca advises Georgi to see a doctor, and she says she will.

         Georgi finds Karl eating lunch at the institute’s cafeteria. He invites her to have lunch with him. He says he is going back to work at the free clinic. She asks about his research, and he says that is only his hobby. They sit down to eat, and he asks how she is. He asks what is the matter and urges her to eat. He says he has to go to his job, and she asks to go with him. He says they have to hurry, and she says she has a taxi waiting.

         In the taxi she says if a person saves someone from drowning, the person becomes his responsibility. She says she is Russian. He finds out she is not married.  She asks if the melting pot can melt her, and he compares her to a diamond. In a traffic jam they get out and walk. Karl says hello to friends. The custodian Sambo (Willie Best) is surprised to see her and him. Karl introduces her to his assisting doctors. Several people come in to welcome him back. They ask if she is his wife, and he says no such luck. She appreciates his friendships. He feels he is doing some good. He shows her the modest quarters where he lives. He asks her to work there and finds out what languages she speaks. He says he could keep his eye on her, and he would like to have her around. A woman is in distress, and Georgi translates for them. Georgi says the woman trusts Karl and her. Georgi says she is starting to work. Georgi goes out to take care of the woman. The doctors notice she is more than good looks. Karl laughs at the idea that he could marry her.

         The doctor Steve is treating a little girl while Georgi assists. Karl comes in, and they go into his rooms to change. He says he should send her packing. She asks why, and he says she is still in love with the man. He asks her to tell him the truth. She admits she must be because she is still running and hiding. He asks what she would do if he falls in love with her. He is afraid she will break his heart to feel her power again. She says he is dead, and she does not want to see him. He thanks her for lying.

         Karl takes Georgi to a train, but she misses it. He comes back and asks her to marry him. People get in the way, and she says it would not be good for him. He has to deliver a baby, and she gets on the train. He runs along, and she nods.

         Gertie (Marjorie Main) has baked a wedding cake for Karl and Georgi, and she cuts pieces and tells them to put them under their pillows. Gertie, Sambo, and a doctor go out and leave Karl and Georgi alone. He gives her a bracelet of semi-precious stones. While he is putting it on her wrist, it breaks. He asks if it is a bad sign, and she says she will have it fixed. They both say how nervy they have been to the other. He says he has not courted her yet and wants to do it now. He asks her to let him love her, and he leaves the room.

         Cesca comes to Georgi at the clinic and sees where she is living. Georgi says she got married. Cesca starts helping her pack. Cesca asks about her husband and says she can get it annulled. Karl comes in and meets Cesca. Georgi says he saved her life. Karl diagnoses Cesca and asks if she has been taking reducing tablets. He warns they could make her blind or bald. He advises her to phone her doctor and not walk home. Karl persuades Georgi to go with her.

         Gertie tells Karl two doctors have come to see him. They give him a medal for his work on microbes in Central America and a check for $500. He thanks them for coming there personally, and they leave. Georgi comes in, and he asks about Cesca. He asks if she saw her old friends, and she says no. The phone rings, and he says it is for her. He finds out it is Mayberry, and she says she is not in. He asks why she looks scared. He asks if she saw him, and she admits that she saw him today. She did not speak to him and says she dislikes him. Karl is suspicious and tries to reassure her. She says she avoided being with him. She does not want Karl to hate her. She sits in his lap, and he says she had a bad accident. He invites her to go out for a drink. He tells her about how he played hooky and then decided he would not do it again. She understands the lesson and embraces him.

         A patient sees Karl’s wife and wonders how he got her. Karl admires Georgi and says how beautiful she is. She helps him put on his coat and says he looks handsome. He shows her the medal, and she wants to keep it with her. He does not want her showing it to people. She shows him the mended bracelet. The other three doctors see Karl in his dinner jacket.

         Karl and Georgi meet Bill Rogers and Lola. They go into a nightclub where Georgi is known. They order drinks, and Cesca comes over and borrows Karl. She tells Karl she will sell him and introduces him to Dr. Duveen (Louis Calhern), who asks him to lunch to consider a job at his hospital. Karl takes his card and goes back to his table. He finds them looking at his medal, and he tells Georgi to put it away. They see Bill’s daughter Linda Rogers (Laraine Day) who joins them with Phil Mayberry (Kent Taylor). Karl persuades Georgi to dance with Phil, and she seems mesmerized by him. They dance cheek to cheek, and he says his wife has divorced him. He tells her she can get divorced too. Cesca sees Phil and calls him a snake. Cesca gets them to stop dancing by talking to them. Phil says goodnight at the table and leaves.

         At home Karl says Georgi belongs at such a place. He says he adores her. He asks about Phil’s news, and she says it is no longer important. They put out the light, and he says he will work hard for her. She is proud of him. Neither is afraid.

         Karl tells a rich woman that she is healthy. Dr. Duveen says he will help her. Karl notes that hypochondria is found in the wealthy. Karl learns that his wife is having lunch at the Carleton.

         Karl and Georgi are living in a fine apartment, and she comes in to breakfast. He says he may be losing their case. She has to win her own battles. Karl takes a call from the hospital and learns that the rich woman was bitten by her cat. He is about to leave when Cesca comes in with boxes of clothes. She shows Georgi a fur coat she wants her to wear so that the rich woman will want to buy it. Karl leaves. Cesca asks Georgi what is wrong. Georgi says she cannot go on anymore. Phil has been following her. She says she must see him alone. She must be honest. She says Karl senses what is going on inside her. She cannot settle it by running away. She is going to see Phil this afternoon.

         Georgi goes to Phil’s apartment, and they sit down. She asks if he knows why she is there. She is there so that she will know if she is all Karl’s. Phil tells her he has been tormented too. He shows her his shrine which is a large picture of her. He says nothing else matters, but she disagrees. Phil says he loves her, but she says Karl loves her too. He says love is impulse and is selfish and kisses her.  She says she is glad he did that, and she says she is already married and will stay married. She says she can go back to Karl now and says goodbye to Phil. Sandra comes in to return her key, and Georgi leaves.

         Georgi goes to Karl at the hospital and asks Dr. Duveen if she can borrow her husband for a honeymoon. He says yes, and Karl is happy. Dr. Duveen says he offered Karl a partnership, and Karl signs the agreement. She says they will always celebrate that date.

         Karl and Georgi are dancing happily at a nightclub. They sit down, and Bill and Lola get up to dance. They see Linda come in. Linda tells a man goodbye and says she took what is in the bottle she gives him. Bill goes to them, and Linda asks him to kiss her, and she leaves with the man. Bill tells the others that Linda went home. Bill and Lola leave. Phil joins them for a drink to celebrate their sailing. Phil says something happened that afternoon. Sandra comes in and says it was catty of her to tell Georgi at Phil’s apartment that there will always be others like her. Phil says goodnight and offers to help Georgi if she ever needs him. Karl says we all get caught. Georgi says she was going to tell him about him. Karl says he is still the man. He regrets moving into the Gomorrah, and he feels like screaming.  She says he is being unfair. He holds her hand, and she says it is not true. He says he took something that did not belong to him. She says he is wrong. He says they are only wrong when they lie to one another. A waiter tells him the hospital is calling him, but he sends him away. She says she decided to be all wife or none. She says there is no longer cause for fear. She says she survived the crisis, but he says now the doctor is sick. She tells him not to decide now. A waiter brings the phone, and Karl learns a girl attempted suicide.

         Karl finds it is Linda Rogers and treats her quickly and gives nurses and assistants orders. Later her father Bill comes in and speaks to her, but she does not respond. Karl does not blame the young doctor but himself. Karl advises him to  work at a clinic where he can learn. Dr. Duveen comes in. Karl says she was there before she died. Karl says his report says it was suicide and possibly murder. He calls the police, and Dr. Duveen warns him about publicity and not to ruin his practice. Dr. Duveen asks Bill to stop Karl. Bill asks Karl to hush it up. He says Linda took poison, but Karl says she could have been saved. Bill tells him to make a different report and then says he will accuse Karl of malpractice. Karl says he will do what a doctor should do.

         The young doctor Ted comes in, and Karl tells him to stay out of it. A policeman tells Karl that the girl’s father will not sign a complaint. Karl takes the young doctor to his old clinic and tells them he got Ted a job there. Karl says he is going to China to do research and that Georgi is not going with him. Joe says he will see him off. Cesca comes in and gives the medal back to Karl. He asks her if Georgi pleaded for him with Bill, but Cesca denies it. Karl says she is lying. She says Georgi will divorce and remarry because she should be wealthy. Karl says she was happy at the clinic. Karl says Cesca is Georgi’s true friend. Some people come in and say his wife urged them to come there so that he would stay there. A cab driver makes a speech welcoming him back. Karl says he is sailing tonight. They are disappointed. Georgi comes in with children, and a little girl speaks to Karl, asking him to stay for their sake. He says he belongs there, and he will stay. Georgi asks if she can stay too, and he says she can if she can put up with him. The people sing, “Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot.” Georgi holds up the medal, and Karl covers it with his hat as they laugh.

         This under-rated problem comedy explores the difficult process of getting over a failed romance while getting to know and love someone very different. The doctor’s altruistic values and humble demeanor are contrasted to the sophisticated crowd that cares about money and luxuries. People appreciate the honest and capable work of the physician, and the broken-hearted woman has also been healed while changing her life-style and social group.

Copyright © 2011 by Sanderson Beck

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