“John is the only one to blame, dear. He’s wearing you out body and soul.”
One of tons of things that piss me off in life to no end is when men ask women to do everything for them. I know this was an old way of doing things but my grandparents are like. My grandpa is completely helpless he always has my grandma doing things for him and makes her do stupid things too. Sometimes he helps out like washing the dishes and some other cleaning things but not all the time. He is usually sitting at his computer reading his email or playing games or in his chair watching TV while my grandma does things around the house and cooks. I despise that. Quite a few times my dad has asked me to do things that he is plenty capable of doing by himself such as drying the dishes when he has to hand wash them. I have told him countless times that I have hand cleaned the dishes myself and even dried them myself. The thing I absolutely hate the most is that he singles me out to do things around the house while my brothers are also home and plenty capable of them too and they get to run off and do whatever they want. Seriously, I need to move out I should not be living at home anymore and having to do things for my parents. Wow, I just made myself sound like a spoiled brat but it is true.
Anyway, my rambling does have a point. In the 1925 silent Danish film Master of the House, a husband runs his home like a tyrant. John has his wife Mary do everything. She is up very early to start breakfast and get his clothes together and take care of their three children. When he gets up John expects his breakfast ready, his slippers warmed up, and his clothes ready as well. One little slip in his routine or his food or his clothes and John just berates Mary. He takes her granted to the fullest extent.
John’s former caretaker from when he was a child comes over to help Mary out with chores some days during the week. Nana, as she is called, is upset to see the man John has become. He comes home for lunch and basically bullies Mary and even tries to intimidate Nana but Nana does not take it. She wants to say something to John but Mary will not allow her to do it because she does not want to anger John. After John is a huge ass during lunch Nana goes to get Mary’s mother to see what she can do. The mother comes by and John becomes furious. He feels like he is being ganged up on and tells Mary that the old ladies better be out by the time he comes home or she will have to choose between them or him. Mary becomes upset too because she loves John and she feels they treat him poorly. She explains that John is a kind man but has been very irritable since he lost his business. The mother and Nana finally convince Mary to get away for a while so she can get some rest and also to make John see how much he needs her and is taking her for granted.
Before John comes home Nana does a few things around the house she knows will make John angry such as putting the laundry to dry around the house, throwing his slippers and coat in a hallway, and sitting in the dark. John is onto Nana’s and his mother in law’s game. He does not feel he should apologize and that Mary will be the one to come and apologize to him.
A month goes by and Nana has John back to fearing her like when he was a boy. He also desperately misses Mary. Poor Mary suffers from breakdown and the doctor does not want her going back to her home and husband until he says so. John tried to see Mary but the doctor blocked him from doing so. He read the doctor’s diagnoses and he finally sees what a horrible husband and man he has become. John tries everything he can to find out where Mary is to see her. He even tries to bribe their daughter.
Eventually Mary returns home and everyone is happy and John gets a well paying job.
Master of the House is interesting. At the beginning a title card tells us that the pampered spoiled husband has all but disappeared. This was made in 1925. Maybe in Denmark or wherever this film was made did not really have that kind of husband around anymore but in the good old United States that kind of husband stayed around for a long time. Thank the good lord I was not born or lived through the early to mid 1900s because I would have been put away for murdering my husband if I was ever married! The story is unsettling because it is real. Sure it has a happy ending but there is nothing really fake about it. What I liked about Master of the House was Carl Theodore Dreyer’s direction and the way the story played out. Dreyer’s direction really captured all the intensity of Mary’s situation and John’s realization and his desperation. John’s desperation was I feel out of his love for Mary and also out of guilt he wanted to show her he does care and was sorry. Dreyer’s direction perfectly captured that. The way the story played out was very good. I liked how it began with Mary’s point of view and then to John’s and then to both of theirs at the end. If you really like silent films Master of the House is a good one to watch. It is currently available to view in full on YouTube.