HER HUSBAND’S AFFAIRS (1947)
Article 2011 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-16-2006
Posting Date: 2-13-2007
Directed by S. Sylvan Simon
Featuring Lucille Ball, Franchot Tone, Edward Everett Horton
An ad executive tries to profit off of creations from a scientist whose experiments he is financing, but when the creations backfire, he finds himself in hot water and has to be bailed out by his ever-resourceful wife.
In some ways, this movie sets the pattern for the type of shtick that would be a mainstay on “I Love Lucy”, with one big exception; whereas Lucy Ricardo’s plans would often backfire, those of the character she plays here are rousing successes and manage to save her husband’s hash on numerous occasions. It’s an amusing enough comedy, especially during the first half, when the executive has to handle an ad campaign for straw hats, a cream that allows men (and women) to remove facial hair without shaving, followed by a cream (the same one, by the way) that will cure baldness. Eventually, though, the amusement is undercut by the fact that the ad executive is not only ungrateful to his wife for her help, but actively hostile as well, and she is forced to feel guilty for being fast-thinking, clever and helpful. The movie in this sense is part of a sexist post-WWII trend towards getting women out of the workplace (which they entered during WWII due to the fact that the men were out fighting) and back in the homes “where they belonged”; the wife is made to feel bad about being useful in the real world and not staying in the kitchen. After a while, her husband’s attitude becomes rather unpleasant and grating. This isn’t Franchot Tone’s fault – it’s the script that’s written that way. In fact, I think Tone does a good job of making this jerk somewhat likable, which is no mean feat. The cast also features the Edward Everett Horton (whose baldness sets up a later situation) and Gene Lockhart, as well as Larry Parks (playing himself) and Dwayne Hickman.