Time: 97 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
SYNOPSIS: A cerebral college professor moves to New York City with his more down-to-earth wife in order to get his book about jealousy published. The fact that his new publisher has designs on his wife fails to bother him, but makes her go to desperate lengths to draw out his inner green monster.
BOTTOM LINE: More intellectual than screwball, this comedy tries it's verbal best to explore the ins and outs of jealousy with a wonderful cast who are more than up to the task. Ameche and Russell are a great match, which makes her machinations to get him to prove his love, funny but pointless. Despite the charm and endless flirting of Van Heflin's self-centered character, we know there's no way Russell's going to cheat on her husband and so does he, which leaves the whole enterprise rather flat. Is it amusing to watch Heflin toil away at Russell's defences? It sure is. He's relentless and his frustration is extremely humorous. However, since she's never going to give in to his advances there's no tension to the proceedings. Ameche's unflagging confindence is sincere, his trust in his wife's love and devotion refreshing, and yet as the film progresses one begins to understand where Russell is coming from. While his ideas about jealousy have merit, a woman needs to feel passion from her man and sometimes that comes in the form of protecting what's yours.
With more wit than plot, the film meanders to a finale that finally has Ameche trying to throttle Heflin (in one of the film's best physical bits) and Russell giving Kay Francis, who plays Heflin's inventual love interest, a piece of her mind and the back of her hand for snuggling up to her man. That everbody winds up where they started, and should be, is never in doubt, however, the lessons they learn along the way to enlightenment are clever, funny and fairly thought-provoking. Despite a smart script and fine performances I wanted to like this movie more than I did. Ameche, however, was a revelation. His good humor, intelligence and charm really surprised me. As did Van Heflin, in his first comic role. Though not a legendary beauty, nobody does a fast-talking dame better than Russell, which she proves admirably here. There's plenty of action, both of the verbal and physical variety, unfortunately the pacing is too inconsistent and the plot too perfunctory. Worth a look if you like the genre, as this film is somewhat smarter than most.