Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Day-Time Wife

I briefly made mention of the movie Day-Time Wife a few months back on the birth anniversary of its star, Linda Darnell. It's coming up again on FXM Retro tomorrow morning at 4:45 AM (and again on the 15th and 16th).

Darnell plays Jane Norton, who is happily married to Ken (Tyrone Power), a successful architect. Or, at least, she believes she's happily married. She throws a party for her second anniversary, and a lot of people show up. None of those people, however, has the name Ken Norton. And when he doesn't bring her a gift, she comes to the conclusion that he's forgotten her anniversary. That's bad, but making matters worse is her friend Blanche (Binnie Barnes). Blanche, à la Wife vs. Secretary, tells Jane that perhaps Ken is seeing the secretary, because that's something bosses do, don't you know.

What's a wife to do? In this case, Jane comes up with the idea that two can play at this game. She's going to go out and get a job as a secretary herself, so that she can figure out what it is that bosses see in their secretaries and then presumably use those same techniques on Ken. You'd think somebody would have written a book on the subject or something. And of course Ken is never going to find out about it, since he's at work all day and Jane just stays home or goes out and shops. So she gets a job with Bernard Dexter (Warren William).

It turns out, however, that there's one catch. Dexter knows Ken Norton. They're not good enough friends that Dexter would know Mrs. Norton, which means that he doesn't recognize Jane when she shows up to take a secretarial job, but they are close enough to be working on a business deal. That, of course, means that Ken is going to show up at Brad's office, or Brad is going to need to go over to Ken's place with a secretary in tow. This is a problem, since Jane is trying to keep the fact that she's working, and even more so why she's working, a secret from Ken.

Unsurprisingly, it does eventually come out that Jane is working, and working for one of her husband's colleagues, when Ken and Brad bring their secretaries to a dinner that's only half business, and half pleasure. Predictable complications ensue, and there's the eventual happy ending that has Ken and Jane making up. This is a comedy after all.

Day-Time Wife is a fairly predictable movie, but that doesn't mean it's a bad one. Darnell was all of about 16 when she made it, and already shows she's got the chops for light material like this. Power had already made some comedies, such as Love Is News, although I do tend to think he's one of the people who would be better served by having people be funny around him than having to carry a comedy himself. Still, he's more than good enough for a trifle like Day-Time Wife. There's nothing special here, but fans of 1930s movies and especially the screwball comedies, will like it, I think.

Day-Time Wife did get a DVD release, but I don't know if it's still in print.

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