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That Uncertain Feeling

(1941 b 72')

En: 6 Ed: 5

Based on a play by Sardou and Najac, a neurotic wife is attracted to a musician and is going to divorce, but her husband manages to get her back.

Women advise Jill Baker (Merle Baker) to go to psychoanalyst Dr. Vengard (Alan Mowbray) for her hiccups and insomnia, and he tells her to wake up her husband. Jill confides in Margie (Olive Blakeney), who says Larry Baker (Melvyn Douglas) should shave for her. Irritated Jill tells Larry not to poke her. When Jill wakes up Larry, he puts out the dog and goes back to sleep. Waiting for the doctor, Alexander Sebastian (Burgess Meredith) tells Jill he is against everything and asks her what is wrong. He takes her to an art gallery and shows her an abstract portrait of him. Alexander says he is a pianist and inhibited. Larry assumes that Alexander is a businessman. Neurotic Alexander plays piano for Jill. Larry sees the painting and learns it costs $500 and is of Alexander. Larry finds Alexander playing piano, and Jill says her hiccups are gone. Larry sees the painting on the wall, but Jill says it is a meadow.

Larry's lawyer Jones (Harry Davenport) asks his secretary Sally Aikens (Eve Arden) for advice about a marriage, and she suggests mink. Jones advises Larry to take a new slant. Jill expects Alexander, sees it is Larry, and faints twice. Alexander tells Larry he won't fight because of his hands. Larry carries Jill to the bed. Larry offers to insure Alexander's hands and pulls out a gun, asking if Alexander loves his wife. Alexander admits it, and Larry knocks him out. Larry calls for a room and advises Alexander to poke Jill when she is in a bad mood. Jones works on the divorce with Larry, Jill, and Alexander. Larry offers to get a correspondent. Jill apologizes to Larry. Alexander pokes Jill, who gets angry and walks out but suggests Alexander as correspondent. Larry slugs Alexander again. Alexander agrees to Pennsylvania, but Larry must be cruel to Jill. Jones calls in Sally to see the fight; but Larry won't slap her until he takes two drinks.

Albert the butler comes to Larry for a job. Margie finds Alexander playing piano, and Jill says she likes the arts. Jill gets Alexander to stop; he gets angry and leaves. Jill asks Margie about Larry's date and gets the hiccups. Jill calls on Larry, who closes the bedroom door. Jill asks Larry to come back and is jealous of Sally. Larry and Jill look at their photos. While Larry is in the bedroom, Sally arrives; but Jill gets rid of her. Larry says she is in love with him. Jill says goodbye, and Larry kisses her. Alexander finds Larry in his pajamas, takes his photos, and leaves. Larry turns out the lights and goes back to bed.

Director Lubitsch gives this romantic comedy his subtle quality. Alexander is called an isolationist for not being willing to fight; but he turns out to be too quirky compared to Jill's husband, who loves her.

Copyright © 2002 by Sanderson Beck

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