I had a feeling with a title like No Other Woman this would be a weeping sort of a melodrama. It is not really weeping but kind of pathetic. Alright, maybe not pathetic but there is something that just did not and does not click right.
The ever fabulous Irene Dunne plays a young woman named Anna. She lives in a town that centers around a steel factory. She dreams of a life bigger than what she has somewhere outside of the steel mill. She is in love with a man named Jim but when we see him ask propose she tells him no she does not want to be tied down to the steel mill. They marry anyway.
All the while they are married Anna puts Jim’s paychecks away and also takes in boarders to earn some more cash. One night he gets really angry and storms out of the house with his paycheck intending to drink it all away. He does as he promised and comes home drunk with another woman who he says was his drinking buddy. Anna is worried about him staying awake until her husband gets home. She forgives him because she loves him and knows things have not been easy for him either.
Anna’s young friend Joe has been developing a dye process that stays permanent to what it is supposed to dye. Anna wants Jim to get in on this dye because he is smart and good with managing things. They invest all their money in Joe’s invention and it pays off big time. In a few years they are wealthy beyond their dreams
Jim goes to New York a lot and while there he gets lonely and starts seeing a woman named Margot. Everyone even back home knows Jim has been seeing another woman. Anna decides one day to go to New York for herself to see if the rumors are true. They are true and on top of everything Jim wants a divorce so he can marry Margot.
Anna will not give Jim a divorce she says she still loves him and that one day he will want to come back to her. In anger Jim has his lawyer fabricate evidence and has “eyewitnesses” from their own staff testify that Anna was seeing other men while he was away. In the end Jim cannot take the lying and how hurt Anna is so he jumps up and yells that everything that has been said is false. For this he spends a year in jail.
When Jim is released all his millions are gone to him as they are managed by Anna. He gets a job at his old steel mill.
Al through the trial and everything Anna still loves him making Jim even feel more guilty when the whole thing is over.
Almost all of the pre-codes, with the exception of Thirteen Women, that I have seen of Irene Dunne have not been to my liking. I have been reading a book on actresses and women’s roles during the pre-code era where the ladies were strong and independent and could do without their man. Anna was determined that is for sure but she was weak with love. That is what male characters were mostly like in pre-codes they were weak to a woman’s seductiveness. I think maybe my whole issue with it is that Anna was so in love with Jim that she just did not want to let him and she allowed herself to be dragged to court and splattered all over the courtroom. Dunne was nothing but brilliant she is was an incredible actress even in this not so great film. I am sure the film is only known today because of her.
Eric Linden was that awe shucks kind, sweet and really soft character. I have only ever seen him in Big City Blues; he was not a very good actor. Charles Bickford was very hard to imagine as a leading man. He really did not do anything for me he was just there.
Before this the only time I had ever seen Gwili Andre was in photographs by Cecil Beaton and Edward Steichen. I love both photographs they are gorgeous. She was not a bad actress at all unfortunately this role kept her from doing other films because people did not like her character. It is a real shame she was good and in a strange way very appealing and pretty.
The courtroom scene is horrendous. Anna might as well not have had a lawyer the man barely defended her! The judge was an ass he was no help what so ever. I know this is an old film but still other films like A Free Soul had good courtroom scenes. This was terribly frustrating to sit through because we know the people are lying against the cheated wife and we know the husband is the one in the wrong.
No Other Woman is not one of the greatest films but if you are a fan of Irene Dunne I say watch it because she was such a great actress but other than her skip it. No Other Woman is not available on DVD I recorded this through TCM.