Friday, September 26, 2014

Briefly on Other Men's Women

Sometimes, there are movies that you know you've seen before; you just can't remember when it was you saw them. A good example would be Other Men's Women, which is airing this afternoon at 5:15 PM as part of the last of the 24-hour marathons in the Friday Night Spotlight of pre-Codes.

The plot involves Grant Withers and Regis Toomey playing a pair of railroad engineers who are also best friends. That friendship gets tested, however, due to the presence of Toomey's wife, played by Mary Astor. Withers falls for her and falls hard, which obviosuly puts a strain on the friendship. James Cagney gets fourth billing, and even further down the cast list is Joan Blondell, playing a hash-slinger at a diner. Cagney and Blondell had already appeared together and turned heads in Sinners' Holiday several months earlier; interestingly that one also has Grant Withers as the male lead. (It's not on the schedule.) But it was still a couple of months before The Public Enemy (following Other Men's Women on TCM this evening at 6:30 PM) would make Cagney a huge star. William Wellman, who directed Cagney in Other Men's Women, must have realized he had something good; the studio bosses only realized it when they saw the first day's rushes of The Public Enemy since Cagney was originally slated to play the sidekick.

At any rate, I'm not certain when the last time is that I actually saw Other Men's Women. Female lead Mary Astor was TCM's Star of the Month back in March, but I'm pretty certain I didn't watch it then. James Cagney was Star of the Month a couple of Decembers ago, I think, and I wouldn't be surprised if I watched the movie again back then. If you look at the link to Sinners' Holiday, that aired on a day in Summer Under the Stars honoring Blondell, and I wouldn't be surprised if TCM ran Other Men's Women back then. But I think the first time I actually saw it would have been when TCM spent a month honoring William Wellman back in 2006 ot 2007, with Wellman's son sitting down with Robert Osborne to discuss Dad's movies.

Other Men's Women did get a DVD release several years back, as part of one of the Forbidden Hollywood box sets that also featured Frisco Jenny. I think that box set is no longer in print, however, since it's not available from the TCM Shop.

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