Thursday, August 25, 2011

When Ladies Meet


Director: Robert Z. Leonard

Starring: Joan Crawford, Greer Garson

A remake of the 1933 film of the same name, When Ladies Meet stars Joan Crawford as Mary, a writer who, during the course of writing her latest book, has fallen in love with her married publisher, Rogers (Herbert Marshall). This doesn't sit well with Mary's erstwhile (and still pining) sweetheart, Jimmy, (Robert Taylor) who, after a chance encounter with Rogers' wife Claire, (Garson) conspires to have the two strangers, who don't know their common bond, meet.

While watching this film, I kept getting the feeling that I'd seen this movie before, but there wasn't anything familiar about it beyond the actual storyline. When I realized that it was a remake the light bulb went on because I must have seen the Myrna Loy/1933 version. I really enjoyed When Ladies Meet; it is a perfect melodramatic vehicle with perfect casting. Crawford is strong but naive, and somehow, despite her awareness for what she is doing, is even a bit sympathetic. She's just so darn good at what she does. And Greer Garson... if she's played an unlikeable, weak woman I've never seen that movie. It was these two actresses that actually drew me to watch the film in the first place, and they didn't disappoint.

I'm also a complete sucker for melodramas, and while there were some lighthearted moments, usually provided by Robert Taylor, When Ladies Meet is a melodrama all the way, and considering the plot, how could it not be? Since the viewer knows what eventually has to happen, it becomes excruciating to watch Crawford and Garson become close friends during the course of the evening they spend together, and when the moment of realization happens, it's absolutely devastating. However, it's not a weepy film because the strength of the female characters don't allow it to become mired in treacle, and that is an admirable trait in a film, particularly one from the 40's, a decade which produced some of the best melodramatic films of the century.

When Ladies Meet is a great movie that should be seen by those who enjoy this genre of film, but it's a must see for Crawford and Garson fans.

4 out of 5 stars

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