Friday, March 8, 2013

Meet the Stewarts (1942)



“Darling, can you live on budgets?”
“I never ate any but I bet I’ll love ‘em.”


            The plot of Meet the Stewarts is a plot we go through in real life. We worry about our jobs and the income they provide. We question if the income will be enough to survive on with a house, furniture, food, and whatever life throws at you. Unless you have an extremely good job where you can throw caution to the wind and buy whatever you want everyone else in the world has to budget their money. Budgeting is the lesson Mike Stewart tries to teach his formally rich high living wife Candy to manage.
            The film starts off with Mike (William Holden) in a tree. He wants to get down from the tree but his girlfriend Candy (Frances Dee) will not let him unless he agrees to marry her. Mike tells Candy he cannot marry her because he has no money for her type if rich living and besides her father thinks he is a fortune hunter. Candy’s father comes out to speak to her thinking they were alone. He tells her that if she marries Mike he will cut off her money. Up in the tree Mike asks Candy if she thinks she can change her ways and live on just his salary.
            Mike and Candy do eventually get married and buy a house. When they arrive at their house after their wedding there are no lights on because Mike could not pay for them to be turned on. Fortunately someone from Candy’s family has given them beds as a wedding present but they have no blankets. Candy has brought some furniture and it comes a few days later. All the furniture she has bought puts them at forty-nine dollars and seventy-six cents over their budget. Mike tells his wife to send back one or two things. Candy has a very hard time deciding what to send back and eventually convinces him to allow her to keep everything.
            Candy invites mother and sister and her family over for dinner. She tries to prepare a meal all by herself but nothing is coming out right. Her family cook from her father’s house, Wong, comes over to help her. Mike comes back from work early and Candy struggles to hide Wong since she wanted to prove to him that she can cook a meal herself. Mike sees Wong’s hat and thinks Candy has another man in the house. Wong just casually strolls out of the closet Candy shoved him into and out the door. Mike is not angry with his wife but he makes promise to tell everyone that she did not make the meal herself. Dinner with the family does not go over too well. Something burned in the oven so all the windows had to be opened and it was cold out. Mike’s sister in front of everyone says he made a mistake in marrying Candy because she is not practical. He defends his wife by saying she made the meal herself.
            Things begin to go wrong for Mike and Candy. She believed her father had let her keep her life membership to the club they belonged but he got rid of it for the whole family. Mike was gambling and lost a lot of money that would take him a long time to give back. Mike once again makes his budget and Candy says they make it and pay off the debt to the club if she goes to work. Mike is not happy but they have no other choice. On the way home from work together one night Candy tells Mike her friend asked her if they wanted to join them at a club for dinner and dancing on a pier. She wants to go so much and Mike tells her no because it is not in their budget. Candy snaps saying she has had enough of budgets and living like she has been. She goes back to her family.
            Mike and Candy have not seen each other in months. His sister calls him to meet her so they can talk. He tells her Candy never did go back to her parents. She has rented the house out and taken double shifts to pay off the debt to the club. She has been living in an apartment in town. Mike decides to go to see Candy at her apartment to take things over. Before he got there she made an apartment switch with her male neighbor. Mike sees the man in her apartment and thinks he is a man Candy has been seeing. Both men get into a brawl. The police have been called. Candy sees the fight and sees the police officer hit Mike so she hits the officer back. Both of them wind up in jail. They have it out with each other arguing over budgets and other such married adult things. Their families come to bail them out. Candy’s father tells them that he has paid the bill at the club for them and combined with the money they both have been paying they now have built up a credit there.

            Now happy again and willing to work together on a budget, Mike and Candy return to their own house. This time they have done it right with furniture and working lights.        
            I liked Frances Dee and William Holden as a couple but at the same time I found it odd. The reason I found it odd was because Dee was nine years older than Holden. If you know this you can see the difference in their ages. Despite their age differences they worked very well together. Now I adore Frances Dee but I do not think she should have played this role. She is a fantastic actress she did a great job but I do not think she was right for the role. I hated seeing her as this spoiled annoying brat. I liked her more at the end when Candy gets her head screwed on right. William Holden was adorable. He was the perfect husband who wanted to take care of his wife and be the man of the house. My mom probably wishes my dad was like Mike caring about budgets and the expenses, she is the one who worries about money in the house and my dad has no clue.
            Meet the Stewarts is a cute film that I am sure hits close to home with the modern viewer. I would recommend seeing this film if you are a fan of Frances Dee because for some reason it is very hard to find any of her films. Fortunately someone has posted Meet the Stewarts on Youtube (just be aware that for some reason part three is broken down into A and B) and it is also available on DVD.