Wednesday, August 20, 2008

When Ladies Meet (Robert Z. Leonard, 1941) D+

The day and night teaming of Joan Crawford and Greer Garson should have ensured When Ladies Meet greatness, or at the very least watchability. Unfortunately, the film's ridiculously stupid subject matter makes this hardly worth the effort to sit through this. Joan Crawford plays a writer who is loved by Robert Taylor but in love with her married editor Herbert Marshall. She's just finished her new book and begins an affair with Marshall while editing her book. The plot of her book mirrors her situation right now, but the section that needs improvement is the scene when the wife and the other woman meet. Cue Greer Garson, Marshall's wife, whom Taylor meets at a random party and, without either of them knowing the other's connection to Marshall, he gets them to meet and talk about her book. The main problem with When Ladies Meet is that it intellectualizes the issue falling in love with a married man so much that they make it sound like something as grave and serious as nuclear warfare or the war in Iraq. There's no doubt in my mind that the book Crawford is writing is probably nothing more than a trashy melodrama, but everyone in the film treats it as if the situation is unbearably unique and as intellectually stimulating as a new book by Freud. Crawford and Garson are fine in this film, but the sparks between them never ignite and they're too genteel towards each other when they should have been fighting for dominance.

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