Linda Stanhope isn\'t jealous of beautiful Whitey Wilson, secretary to her magazine publisher husband Van ... until his mother plants the seed of doubt.
Clark Gable ... Van
Jean Harlow ... Whitey
Myrna Loy ... Linda
May Robson ... Mimi
George Barbier ... Underwood
James Stewart ... Dave
Hobart Cavanaugh ... Joe
Tom Dugan ... Finney
Gilbert Emery ... Simpson
Marjorie Gateson ... Eve Merritt
Gloria Holden ... Joan Carstairs
It sounds like some sort of cheap sex farce, but this wonderful gem from MGM is actually a very sophisticated work. At its heart are the brilliant performances of five shining stars. Myrna Loy, her miraculously beautiful face subtlely registering her consumption by the green eyed monster. Clark Gable, exhaustingly energetic and effortlessly charming. May Robson, worldly wise and utterly compassionate. James Stewart, in an early supporting role displays the sincere simplicity that was to become his trademark. And Jean Harlow, luminous and intelligent - with a practical notion of love - but playing temptation better than any actor I\'ve ever seen. Watch that scene where she takes off Gable\'s shoes. So sad that she died only a year after this film was made.
At the helm of this under-rated film is the great Clarence Brown, one of the great stylists of the cinema, who was able to take a simple story and give it depth - watch the gossip and the prejudice of the observers that slowly manipulate Loy, Gable and Harlow into distrusting themselves. Magnificent production and costume designs and great music flesh out the film, and make it a memorable experience. And it\'s very sexy for its time too! If it weren\'t for the slightly forced happy ending this film would be perfection itself.
It goes without saying that the best Myrna Loy movies have William Powell - but this movie has enough cast that it can virtually throw away Jimmy Stewart and still carry you along with the strength of the character performances. Clark \"Big Ears\" Gable is not my favorite star, but he plays the role of the loving but thoughtless husband perfectly. He believably pulls off being shrewd in business, but naive enough of his personal life to be almost innocent while looking completely guilty.
Actually, it is the pair of leading ladies that makes this movie so great - Myrna Loy and Jean Harlow. Myrna is great in everything she does - and so is Harlow. Harlow is proof that the original is nearly always the best. Anyone who has ever enjoyed a Marilyn Monroe movie is simply watching second best - Harlow was the original \"blonde bombshell\" - and is still the best. Her usual forte is comedy, but she nails this light dramatic role perfectly. There are times when you don\'t know who to cheer for - the Wife or the Secretary - and that\'s the movie. The whole tension rides on which of these two ladies Gable chooses - or, rather, which one the audience wants him to choose. Myrna may have been the only actress who could have given Harlow a run for her money - and Harlow may have been the only one who could challenge Myrna Loy.
Myrna Loy and Jean Harlow teamed up in another movie - \"Libeled Lady\" - another tour de force of casting with William Powell and Spencer Tracy along for the ride. \"Lady\" is a very good movie; a comedy with both drawing room and slapstick elements. This type of comedy is usually more my cup of tea, but as good as \"Lady\" is, \"Wife vs. Secretary\" is better - mainly because \"Lady\" doesn\'t let Harlow bust loose until the end of the movie.
The light touch that these two great actresses bring to \"Wife vs. Secretary\" offsets one of the fundamental conflicts and tragedies of life - that though we are often presented with two paths in life, we can only choose one - knowing that we will always wonder about the other....
Jean Harlow is the secretary no wife wants her husband to have in \"Wife vs. Secretary\" starring Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, and Harlow, with an early appearance by James Stewart. It\'s hard to believe, looking at this film, that Jean Harlow would be dead a year later. Less blonde than in some earlier films, and far more subdued, she plays the indispensable, smart, and efficient secretary of Clark Gable. Gable is a high-pressured businessman happily married to Myrna Loy. All is well until her mother-in-law advises her to make Gable get rid of that good-looking assistant. Slowly, Loy begins to realize that everyone in their circle is assuming an affair, which up to that point hadn\'t crossed her mind. It does now.
Harlow is involved with James Stewart, and he doesn\'t want her to work after they get married. Her job, he feels, is too exciting and important and will threaten their marriage. Harlow is half in love with Gable and refuses to quit. Stewart is adorable and gives a hint of what will be truly be one of the great screen personas.
The cast is splendid. Gable is his usual charming self; Loy and Harlow are perfect casting as unique women who are complete opposites. Their final scene together consists of only a long look. It\'s very effective, as is the acting of both women throughout. Loy\'s scene with her mother-in-law is heartbreaking.
This is a dated film but very satisfying. Although it\'s wonderful to see these stars together, it\'s sad to realize they\'re all gone now, and that young Harlow has been gone for 68 years. Quite a loss.