Saturday, August 31, 2013

Office Wife (1930)




“Oh you poor kid. You're all worn out.”
“I don't care.”
“Anne, you're glorious.”
“Am I?”


            The Office Wife is a Pre-Code film through and through. “Office Wife” is not a term that is used today in the modern business world when a boss sees his secretary more than his own wife. The secretary does everything for the boss such as setting appointments and making sure the boss is kept in some sort of order. Sometimes a secretary falls in love with her boss without him knowing how she truly feels.
            Lawrence Fellowes is head of a major publishing firm. At the beginning of the film he tries to persuade an author named Kate (dressed in a vest, tie, jacket, and hat like a man) to write a book about office wives. That is not something Kate is very interested to write about it is not what her audience expects of her. Lawrence’s secretary Miss Andrews was in love with him. She is so upset about when she hears he is getting married that she resigns.
            Anne Murdock is hired as his new secretary. The man who hires Anne tells her not to forget she was hired because she was smart. Anne was picked from the stenographer pool at the publishing firm and since the job is significantly different and more challenging she is given a week off to adjust. Her sister Katherine (Joan Blondell) thinks she got fired since she did not get up to the alarm one morning.
            Lawrence comes back from his honeymoon. Anne meets him for the first time. She is a little nervous. After some time Anne becomes Lawrence’s “office wife.” She looks after what he eats and knows all his business that needs to be done. He goes down to Florida for a vacation. He calls for Anne to meet him down there he has some business to do. While down there Lawrence sees that his wife has dropped a hotel key and it is not for the place they are staying at.
            Anne goes back home earlier than she was expecting. Katherine asks why she came back so suddenly. Anne replies that she has fallen in love with her boss and that she wants to resign. Meanwhile in Florida, Lawrence and his wife talk. She tells him she no longer loves him. He is not angry with her. They both know he loves Anne.          
            To get over Lawrence, Anne decides to marry a guy named Ted that she had been seeing. He is a jerk but he is from her kind of hard working lower class people. Lawrence calls for Anne and takes her to sit on the beach at Coney Island. They confess their love for each other.

Office Wife was a typical Pre-Code romantic story. It is nothing shocking but it was scandalous and a bit gritty. Joan Blondell in her films I have seen her in has been fantastic even if her scenes are short like they were in this film. Dorothy MacKaill I had seen in a film before this and I thought she was terrible but she turned out to be very good here. Office Wife was not terrible but it was not the greatest. I can only suggest watching this film if you are a fan of Joan Blondell.