What a terrific line-up of names: Cary Grant, Carole Lombard and Kay Francis - which is what prompted me to record and watch this film in the first place. You'd think with a cast like that - you'd be in for some sort of screwball comedy. Wrong. IN NAME ONLY is as far from a comedy as you can get. Cary Grant, Carole Lombard and Kay Francis play this drama as straight and serious as a heart attack and they are just terrific in it. It's also one hell of an entertaining story...shhhh, never you mind that it's supposed to be some sort of a chick-flick romantic melodrama. Yes, I admit it's quite soapish, but... Shhhh!!!
Alec Walker (Cary Grant) is a wealthy businessman whose marriage to his wife, Maida (Kay Francis) is on the out and out. Alec should be home with his wife and parents - who are hosting a party - but Alec would rather be out riding around his estate on his horse. That's how much he hates his wife. During the ride, Alec meets Julie Eden (Carole Lombard), a neighbor out trying her hand at fly-fishing. Julie doesn't catch anything except Alec's attention. We soon learn that Julie is a widow raising a 6 year old daughter, Ellen (Peggy Ann Garner) - and this, as they say, is the beginning of a beautiful relationship... or is it?
The only thing that can hang up the relationship between Alec and Julie is... Maida - and boy, does she! Kay Francis as the scheming wife is just delicious here too. As is Maida's best friend, Suzanne (Helen Vinson) who secretly has the hots for Alec.
This story pulls you in from the beginning and I love the way the different characters are introduced and how they interact with each other as the film progresses. The script is smart and well written...but it's never so serious that the film is without it's humorous moments - as in the scene when Grant and Lombard are trying to eat a Thanksgiving dinner onboard a train. The barbs in the dialogue is as good as it gets. This is the humorous side of Cary Grant we are well familiar with. But it's also fascinating to watch them play a straight drama as they do for most of the film.
I can see how some may find this dated - extramarital affairs not as big a stigma as it once was, or is it still? Maybe? I really don't want to say too much else - as the fun in watching this is in watching the drama unfold.
9 / 10