Friday, April 04, 2008

Tonight's Movie: Week-end Marriage (1932)

In WEEK-END MARRIAGE Loretta Young plays a newlywed whose marriage flounders when her career takes off and she starts to make more money than her husband (Norman Foster). When he loses his job, things go from bad to worse. Can this marriage be saved?

The plot of WEEK-END MARRIAGE combines "modern" ideas (woman are as intelligent and able to succeed in the workplace as men) with some dated notions (a working wife will lead a man to speakeasies, drinking, and loose women). The movie may be silly in places, but it's quite interesting, in part as a snapshot reflection of its times.

The sets and costumes also help provide an interesting depiction of life roughly 75 years ago. Since this is a pre-Code film, there are some things which are noticeably different from later films; one of the biggest tipoffs that this is a pre-Code movie is it shows a married couple sharing the same bed, which stopped being the norm in films starting with the enforcement of the Code in 1934.

Half a decade later, Loretta Young's leading man, Norman Foster, would become her brother-in-law when he married her sister Elizabeth Jane, who was known professionally as Sally Blane. Foster and Blane were married for nearly 40 years. (At the time WEEK-END MARRIAGE was filmed, Foster was married to Claudette Colbert; Colbert would go on to find long-term marital happiness with Dr. Joel Pressman.) Among Foster's best-known roles was Wayne Frake, the son in the original Will Rogers film version of STATE FAIR. Foster was also a writer and director who worked behind the camera on many CHARLIE CHAN and MR. MOTO detective films; later in his career he wrote and directed a number of well-known Disney TV productions, including the DAVY CROCKETT series. In the '40s he directed Loretta in a fine Western, RACHEL AND THE STRANGER (1948), costarring William Holden and Robert Mitchum.

The cast includes handsome George Brent, who has just a few scenes as a man who tries to lure Loretta away from her marriage. Roscoe Karns and Aline MacMahon play Loretta's brother and sister-in-law, while Sheila Terry plays Loretta's friend, who is being forced by her family to marry a man she doesn't love.

WEEK-END MARRIAGE was directed by Thornton Freeland. It runs just 65 minutes.

WEEK-END MARRIAGE can be seen on Turner Classic Movies; click here to suggest it be added to the schedule. The trailer can be seen here.

Loretta Young was always a beauty, but never more so than in her earliest work. Reviews of more of this fine actress's pre-Code films: THE DEVIL TO PAY! (1930), TAXI! (1932), THEY CALL IT SIN (1932), LIFE BEGINS (1932), EMPLOYEES' ENTRANCE (1933), and MIDNIGHT MARY (1933).

Update: This film is now available on DVD-R from the Warner Archive, on a 2-film disc with Young's ROAD TO PARADISE (1930).


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