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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Hired Wife (1940)

A devoted secretary (Rosalind Russell) is in love with her boss (Brian Aherne). So when a hostile takeover from a rival company is impending, the only way to save his company is to marry and put his money in his wife's name. The secretary is happy to oblige but her boss's girlfriend (Virginia Bruce) is not amused. Directed by William A. Seiter (YOU WERE NEVER LOVLIER), there's a sense of deja vu about the project. I had the feeling I'd seen this before (I hadn't) but it's a typical 1940s screwball romcom, the kind where the secretary has a great apartment and a fabulous wardrobe on a secretary's pay. If it sounds like I'm dissing it, I'm not. I had a good time with it, it's just not the most original movie, plot wise. Russell is wonderful, of course, this is the kind of roles she excelled in and it helps that she's so magnetic because her character is really manipulative and devious when you come right down to it. For a refreshing change, the other woman as played by Bruce is quite likable and decent so you can't hate her. Russell and Aherne work well together so the end result is never in question but the film doesn't leave Bruce high and dry. With Robert Benchley and John Carroll doing the Latin lover bit.

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