Wife vs. Secretary - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Wife vs. Secretary Reviews

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½ December 29, 2016
A strong cast rescues what would likely have been an otherwise forgettable comedy. Clark Gable plays a magazine publisher looking to make a major deal, but the real drama of the film is his wife, Myrna Loy, being suspicious that her loving husband is falling for his secretary, Jean Harlow. Top that off with a young James Stewart playing Harlow's boyfriend and you have a cast your couldn't imagine being any better. Not brilliant, but the cast makes this film seem well worth watching.
Antonius Block
Super Reviewer
½ November 29, 2016
This movie is loaded with star power - Jean Harlow, Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, and wow, even a young Jimmy Stewart. The story is straightforward - Gable is an executive, Loy is his wife, Harlow his secretary, and Stewart, Harlow's boyfriend. Harlow is incredibly helpful to Gable and works long hours with him, thus prompting rumors, but the two are absolutely innocent. Eventually Loy and Stewart get jealous of the time the two are spending together, and are concerned the two are having an affair.

I have to say, for a good part of the movie, it seemed reasonably good but somewhat false - the chemistry between Gable and Loy is just "ok", and the straight and narrow course Gable and Harlow take and the overall message of needing to trust in one's relationship seemed somehow influenced by the Hays Code to me.

On the positive side, both Gable and Harlow are in roles outside of their usual typecasting, including Harlow with her natural hair color. Harlow also stands up to Stewart's requests that she quit her job to focus on family (hooray especially for 1936!), and Harlow confronting Loy and ultimately sacrificing herself is a good scene. And, on top of all that, the very best scene is between Gable and Harlow, after they've been drinking in Havana following closing a deal they had worked on over sleepless nights. Innocence aside, there is a moment of truth when she's in the same hotel room in the wee hours, untying his shoes. Their conflicted stares are priceless and communicate brilliantly without words, until Harlow says at last "we've had an awful lot to drink". That scene alone makes the film worth watching, and shows Harlow's ability and potential to grow even further. How sad she would die the following year at the age of 26! As for this film -- the script is good, not great, but the screen presences here surely are.
½ March 19, 2016
Beautiful classic movie about marriage and cheating and how hard it was to be a working lady in 1930's America. Clark Gable is having his way with this really fitting role.
August 18, 2015
That blunt title says it all: the women's roles in this picture and in society were defined with respect to the men in their lives. Moreover, the wife suspects the secretary and, although the latter is honest, she just might seduce her boss if the wife throws him over. The script builds a certain amount of tension but with lesser stars, this could easily have been painful (especially through today's eyes). But oh what stars! Clark Gable is witty and charming as the husband/boss running a magazine company, Myrna Loy is fetching and tender as the wife, and Jean Harlow is steadfast and alluring as the secretary. Jimmy Stewart even has a small part as Harlow's boyfriend. Director Clarence Brown (Garbo's favourite director) makes the most of MGM's glamour factory to dress up the proceedings and there are handsome close-ups to spare. But, yes, this is dated, not screwball enough, and badly misuses the comic talents of Myrna Loy by placing her in the sucker role - still for an escapist time-waster: not bad.
½ March 15, 2015
Somewhat predictable, but an intricately woven story, that needed to be told. Harlow is at her best. Loy is sublime. And Gable's just Gable. Watch for an early Jimmy Stewart appearance! Even here, he stands out.

There was a point where it came dangerously close to trespassing upon
cinematic discretion; where one began to believe the possibility of the
film's purported bane coming to fruition. The tension in the film is
created by exactly that -- tension. Adjacently, the strength of the story
is in the misunderstanding. If wife's suspicion is justified, that
removes the misunderstanding, & undercuts that which carried the movie
to that point, ruining it, entirely. Thankfully, it held me in concern just long enough to show me that they understood what they were doing.
It would rank much higher if the mother didn't give Myrna Loy the worst piece of advice I've ever heard. Basically, 'I know you're upset, but you can't blame a man for cheating, can you? That's what they do." ...huh?!

Otherwise, it's an exceptional story.
½ December 9, 2014
Hunky Clark Gable is a wealthy, hotshot magazine publisher, and devoted husband to the Myrna Loy character. She's an accommodating stay-at-home type who gradually becomes (against her will) jealous and suspicious of Gable's indispensable secretary played by Jean Harlow. Sure, Gable's tempted, but it's only his wife's suspicion that (maybe) drives him into the secretary's arms. All ends well, with little in the way of a big plot twist or authentic conflict. Jean Harlow died suddenly and unexpectedly right after this picture was released (kidney failure). She was only 26!!
November 24, 2014
It sounds like some sort of cheap sex farce, but this wonderful gem from MGM is actually a very sophisticated work...A golden love triangle with suspicious minds--'Don't Look for Trouble Where There Isn't Any because if You Don't Find It, You'll Make It'... Harlow vs. Loy, Seductive and Mature!!
September 19, 2014
Probably the most sexist film I've ever seen, but I like Myrna Loy`s lipstick so 3 stars it is....
½ July 2, 2014
Clark Gable was named "The King of Hollywood" and as a matter of fact Myrna Loy was once named "The Queen of Hollywood" and with Jean Harlow and James Stewart as co-stars and director Clarence Brown, nothing can really go wrong.
The chemistry between Gable and Loy is just amazing, as the chemistry between Gable and Harlow (this was after all their fourth out of six movies they did together).

Clark Gable is playing V.S., magazine publisher Van Stanhope who is living a nice and carefree life, married to the lovely Linda (Myrna Loy). Their marriage sparkle like never before, that is until Mimi, Linda's mother-in-law, starts giving Linda warnings that Van might be just like his father; a hopeless ladies' man!, and that she better put a watching eye on her husband's sexy blonde secretary, Whitey (Jean Harlow).

James Stewart (who only appeared in a few scenes in this movie as "Whitey's" boyfriend) once said that he failed in the kissing scene with Jean Harlow on purpose, because he enjoyed so much to do it again and again, since she was such a great kisser!

Though many people consider this movie much weaker than the "follow up movie"; Libeled Lady (with Loy, Harlow, William Powell & Spencer Tracy), I must reserve myself to say something until I have revisited Libeled Lady once again.
I however think there are many screwball comedies besides the big ones (Adam's Rib, His Girl Friday, My Man Godfrey, Bringing Up Baby, The Awful Truth, The Lady Eve, It Happened One Night for example...) that are being overlooked and underrated. And I think Wife vs. Secretary belongs to that underrated category.
Some more "spice" to the plot, and this would have been a 80%-movie for me.

"Mimi: My dear, men are like that. So honorable and wise in some things and just like naughty children in others. You wouldn't blame a little boy for stealing a piece of candy if left alone with a whole boxful, will you?"
March 10, 2014
Gossip & an Attractive Secretary (Jean Harlow) nearly comes between a Hubby (Clark Gable) & the Wife he Adores (Myrna Loy).Jimmy Stewart is the Boyfriend of the Secretary(Harlow), but she really does have her cap set for her Boss (Gable).This Outstanding cast makes up for the predictable story
December 16, 2013
Entertaining enough, although a little too mild in its main storyline. There's never even a hint of actual possible infidelity, making the whole movie kind of pointless.
January 2, 2013
too,,, predictable :I sorry
½ October 27, 2012
This is funny comedy/drama about jealousy and misunderstanding. The cast has great chemistry together which makes the film sizzle. This film is very underrated and deserves far more attention that it has received over the years. Check it out if you like romantic comedies.
½ August 3, 2012
If you want to keep a man honest, never call him a liar.

Vin and Linda are a happily married couple. Vin is a successful publisher who is recently assigned a gorgeous secretary to work under him. The secretary is in a strange relationship with an insecure boyfriend. Almost immediately after working together, Linda become jealous of the secretary, and the secretary's boyfriend becomes jealous of Vin. How will this strange triangle pan out?

"Whenever you trick me into marrying you I'll wear the pants."

Clarence Brown, director of When in Rome, To Please a Lady, Intruder in the Dust, The Yearling, They Met in Bombay, Come Live with Me, Chained, and Emma, delivers Wife vs. Secretary. The storyline for this picture is just okay. The characters are fairly predictable and the conflicts are straightforward. The acting is excellent as the cast includes Clarke Gable, James Stewart, Jean Harlow, and Myrna Loy.

"We've been thrown out of better offices where they have better Scotch."

I recently caught a Jean Harlow movie at the American Film Institute (AFI) and decided to DVR a couple of her pictures. This one grabbed my attention due to its magnificent cast. Unfortunately, the plot doesn't require a cast of this stature. It was still fun to watch each actor in their role, but there isn't much special here that differentiates this film from others in its genre.

"May I borrow your husband?"

Grade: B-
August 2, 2012
a fun drama about marriage n love
April 5, 2012
70 years has passed since Jean Harlow's passing, but thank God, we have her movies to remember her by. Sadly, those of her generation is leaving as well. In this film, Harlow is secretary to Clark Gable, who's married to Myrna Loy, and everyone knows their place and is happy as a peace pipe, until someone whispers little inuendos in Loy's ear about the "secretary"Yet, the last word is on Harlow, who is smarter and wiser and let's Loy know the deal. Most definitely pre The Apartment, pre scruples, pre anything.
½ January 26, 2012
Just what you would expect from a film based on a story from Cosmo. (They had stories in Cosmo back then? Are you sure this wasn't based on a quiz from Cosmo? "His secretary is a.) super hot; b.) cute; c.) plain; or d.) hideously ugly") Not a total waste of time because of the stars, but not one you'll want to watch over and over.
October 22, 2011
I have a weakness for the 30s and this is definetely one of the best romantic movies of this era. I think it could have been better with a different - particularly a less cheesy - ending.
May 3, 2011
This would've been much better as a 'Pre-Code' flick where there would have been much more scheming and nastiness instead of the combatants being ever so nice and demure, except for that old bat who tells Myrna Loy that men can't keep it in their pants.
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