Tuesday, October 1, 2013

This Man is Mine (1934)


As soon as I saw the title This Man is Mine I knew it was going to be a Pre-Code women’s picture. I should not have expected anything different from an Irene Dunne film in the early thirties these were the types of films she made at the beginning of her film career. The film was a big mess of a melodrama but it was not as bad as it could have been.
            Tony (Dunne) and Jim Dunlap (Ralph Bellamy) are happily married. Their friend Bee comes over. Bee does not understand how Tony is happy in her married life. Tony responds it is because she loves Jim very much.
            An old scandal is brought up. Jim’s ex-girlfriend Francesca is getting a divorce and coming back to town. Francesca stays with Bee and her husband Judd. Bee seems to not even be able to stand her the moment she walks in the door. The only reason Francesca is staying with Bee is because she is Judd’s sister. Tony was supposed to go over to Bee’s house for lunch but she calls with the excuse that her son is not feeling well.
            Tony and Jim goes to Bee’s house some time later for dinner. Francesca wants to talk to Jim and everyone watches them off in another part of the room. They all know that Francesca still loves Jim. Francesca gets Jim alone like she wanted. She tries to gain his sympathy she wants him to stop hating her for what happened. He gets her to stop talking by kissing her. Everyone goes to Tony’s house. Jim tells them he and Francesca will meet them at the house. They never show up to the house. Bee is the only one who stays behind to be with Tony. Bee knows that Francesca will keep going after men then move on. Tony tells Bee that with Francesca around Jim cannot sleep. Jim and Francesca eventually make it to the house just as Bee and Tony are going upstairs. While his wife is upstairs Jim tells his ex-girlfriend that he still loves her. Judd walks in the room as they are kissing. Francesca acts as if nothing is wrong. Judd is furious with her.
            The next day Tony asks Jim if he is still in love with Francesca. He says yes. She says she has been living with Francesca’s ghost for a long time. He wants her to give him a divorce. Tony will not but she makes a deal with him that if he still loves Francesca in six months from now he can have the divorce. She still has hope that Jim will stay with her.
            Francesca finds out the guy Marty she brought home has money and a yacht. Marty almost got her to leave with him until Tony sees them kiss. Tony figures Marty was brought to the house to make Jim jealous. Francesca puts on an act in front of Jim that Marty hurt her. Hearing this Jim is ready to run away with her he wants to force Tony’s hand in the divorce.
            Tony makes Jim look foolish in front of Francesca by saying she wants to get a divorce in New York City so their scandal and name will be pulled into the papers. She also tells Francesca that she will sue her for one million dollars just to drag everything out to embarrass the family Francesca comes back saying she will deny everything that is said about her to make Tony look bad too. Jim gets furious with Francesca and slaps her. She bites him and he punches her knocking her to the floor.
            Jim wants to talk to Tony about their son he does not want a fuss with the divorce for their son’s sake. Tony is more upset about the whole thing because her mother was the same way as Francesca was with men. Francesca comes over one afternoon. She tells Tony to drop the divorce. Tony knows Francesca is scared for herself. Tony will not back out of it. Francesca married Marty to get out of the mess.
            Needless to say the ending is predictable with Tony and Jim getting back together.
            I am so used to seeing Irene Dunne and Ralph Bellamy together in The Awful Truth where they are both really funny and silly that it was weird seeing them act together in a drama. They were both very good actors and extremely underrated.
            This Man is Mine would have fallen to pieces and been terrible and boring had it not been for Irene Dunne and Ralph Bellamy in the leads. Since they were such good actors who never got overdramatic they worked and made the film better than it should have been. It is one of those old films that is a Melodrama with a capital “M”. This Man is Mine is not available on Youtube or DVD I caught the film on TCM some time ago. If the station airs it again sit through it just for Irene Dunne and Ralph Bellamy