Tag Archives: hired wife

Looking Backward: Hired Wife (1940)

20 Jul

hired-wife2Rosalind Russell made Hired Wife the same year she made His Girl Friday, 1940. It’s solid, but it suffers when you think of it in those terms. Brian Aherne is grand but is not Cary Grant. And I just found myself pondering the sentence “Virginia Bruce is no Ralph Bellamy,” but it confused me, so I set it aside until I find another context in which to use it. Surely that will come down the pike soon enough.

The “Oopsie!” mishandled-paperwork annulment device is more effectively used in Mr. and Mrs. Smith – still a contrivance there, but it’s a premise instead of a Gordian-knot-slicer.

But as I say, I’m being unduly high in my expectations. It was fun while it lasted. Russell never does less than splendid work in any comic role, and watching her make the screenplay plausible with some of her always precise eyework. (I’m not kidding. Follow the gaze of Rosalind Russell – she’s doing simultaneous windows-to-the-soul and a the-director-wants-your-focus-THERE work all the time, and it’s a skill lacking in a lot of film actors, with the added benefit for her that your own eyes refuse to look away from her lest they miss something.)

I also quite enjoyed the Vaguely Latin Gigolo that was Jose of the Erik Rhodes school.

And there’s Benchley, an ode to whom I leave you with.


To Robert Benchley

O Robert Benchley, Worchester’s favorite son,

You left the Table Round for LA’s smog

And taught us all just How It Should Be Done

(To sleep, detect, behave, to train a dog).

You served to us (in more than just a dollop)

Ivy-beleaguerment, befuddledly

Relating tales like The Sex Life of the Polyp,

Narrating links for Flesh and Fantasy;

But back to that Round Table you were summoned:

Sir Rhosis you were dubbed – you overwined

And so you were unmanned. (Also unwomaned,

Since Gertrude, your dear spouse lived on behind.)

But Life was not the same once you moved on.

(In fact, you AND the magazine are gone.)

Looking Forward: This Week

9 Jul

I’m busily rehearsing this month, and when I’ll get to watch all of these will be dictated by the kindness of Gilbert & Sullivan, but these are some noteworthy unseen-by-me’s (with accompanying Reasons Why) coming up on TCM in these next few days:

gazeboThe Gazebo (1960) – A Glenn Ford/Debbie Reynolds domestic murder comedy. Carl Reiner’s in it. Sold. Airs Tuesday, July 9 at 6:15 p.m.

bardelys_the_magnificentBardelys the Magnificent (1926)/ The Show (1927) – Parts of a daylong salute to John Gilbert on Wednesday, July 10. The former is a Sabatini adaptation (airs at 6:30 a.m.), the latter a sideshow story (airs at 8:15 a.m.). Check and check.

trade-windsTrade Winds (1938) Frederic March, Joan Bennett & Ralph Bellamy in another mystery comedy in which Bellamy will, I’ll wager, not get the girl. Airs Wednesday, July 10 at 9:30 p.m.

shootthepianoplayer2Another Francois Truffaut Friday Night Spotlight on July 12,starting at 8:00 p.m. Though I’m still looking for time to watch all of last week’s.

stmartinsSt. Martin’s Lane (1938 aka London After Dark) stars Charles Laughton and Vivien Leigh as London street buskers. Almost too easy. Of course I want to see that. Airs Saturday, July 13 at 6:00 a.m.

Hired-WifeHired Wife (1940) – Rosalind Russell marries Brian Aherne for business reasons; Robert Benchley looks on. Duh. Airs Saturday, July 13 at 10:30 p.m.

7yearsAnd finally there’s Sunday night, July 14. The “Seven Up” lineup begins at 8:00 p.m. and is full of goodness (including The Magnificent Seven (Bill Hader’s Essentials Jr.), Seven Angry Men (Raymond Massey perfectly cast as John Brown), Buster’s classic Seven Chances, and Seven Samurai, but my particular interest is in the Max Linder silent Seven Years Bad Luck, which airs at midnight.

That should just about cover me. Come mid-August, my eyes are going to be wiped out from playing catch-up. But in a happy way.