PARTY WIRE 1935

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One of 6 films Jean Arthur made in  1935 ( Mr Deeds and The Plainsman were just around the corner in 1936.)

In what is partly a light tale of small town gossips, Jean plays bank clerk Madge  who lives with her father Will ( Charley Grapewin).

Victor Jory is Matthew who returns to the town of Rockridge after 7 years away. He and his aunt Nettie (Helen Lowell) own the biggest factory in town and employ 300 of the residents.

Marge and Matthew quickly renew their old friendship while the town is buzzing about Matthew’s return.

The party wire means many  families share the same telephone line and Clara  Blandick and her friends are frequently listening in to private conversations.

 

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Jean Arthur,Victor Jory.

A misunderstanding ensues when the town gossips  misinterpret a phone call Marge’s father makes. The film then takes a sharp swerve into melodrama , as poor Madge loses her job and  her reputation , and her father blames himself. He shoots and injures himself .

Matthew and his aunt Nettie call a town meeting and Nettie says, “When I’m through with this town,they won’t even be able to find it on a map.”

She takes each of the malicious gossippers and reveals embarrassing secrets about them. Matthew tells his factory chief to lay off all the workers from the town.

Of course, the gossips all repent ( temporarily) and all ends well.

 

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Victor Jory,Jean Arthur,Charley Grapewin

 

The mix of comedy and drama just doesn’t work . The writers should have kept it on the lighter level. (The poster above even says the film is written and directed for laughs.)

There’s no chemistry between Jean Arthur and Victor Jory.

Walter Brennan ,soon to be an Oscar winner, has a small part as a telegraph operator.

Charley Grapewin and Clara Blandick were reunited as Uncle Henry and Aunt Em in The Wizard Of Oz.

It’s worth seeing if, like me, you’re a Jean Arthur fan.

 

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