AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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When Ladies Meet
Alternate Title: Strange Skirts
Director: Harry Beaumont (Dir)
Release Date:   23 Jun 1933
Production Date:   began late Mar 1933
Duration (in mins):   73 or 85
Duration (in reels):   9
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Cast:   Ann Harding (Clare [Woodruf])  
    Robert Montgomery (Jimmie [Lee])  
    Myrna Loy (Mary [Howard])  
    Alice Brady (Bridget [Drake])  
    Frank Morgan (Rogers [Woodruf])  
    Martin Burton (Walter [Manners])  
    Luis Alberni (Pierre)  
    Sterling Holloway (Jerome)  

Summary: Young New York reporter Jimmie Lee proposes marriage to Mary Howard, a successful novelist whom he has long loved, but is refused. Suspicious that she is becoming involved with her married publisher, Rogers Woodruf, Jimmie tells Mary that the ending of her latest book, in which a mistress confronts her lover's devoted wife and receives her blessing, is unbelievable. Mary dismisses Jimmie's complaints, however, and quietly arranges with her best friend, widow Bridget Drake, to spend the weekend in the country with Woodruf. After Jimmie deduces Mary and Bridget's plans, he offers to introduce Woodruf to a famous, elusive writer, whose books Woodruf desperately wants to publish, during the weekend. Later, Jimmie interrupts an intimate moment between Woodruf and Mary when he climbs Mary's balcony and drunkenly calls to her. Still conniving, Jimmie plays a game of golf in the country with Woodruf's wife Clare and, confident that Woodruf already has left for Bridget's retreat, telephones his publishing company and states that if Woodruf wants to meet with the famous author he must do so immediately as he is about to leave New York. While Woodruf scurries back to the city, Jimmie tells Clare about his ill-fated romance and asks her to pretend to be his "date" in order to make Mary jealous. Amused, the oblivious Clare agrees to the sham and introduces herself to Mary, Bridget and her gigolo boyfriend, Walter Manners, as "Mrs. Clare," Jimmie's "cousin." As hoped, Mary and Clare immediately take to each other and, while a storm rages outside, exchange thoughts about life, love and the ending to Mary's novel. At first, Clare confirms Mary's conjectures that a loving wife could give up her husband if she were convinced that he would be happier with another woman. Later, as the two women talk in Mary's bedroom, Clare reveals that for years she has been aware of her own husband's affairs and senses that he is yet again involved with another woman. Clare then confesses that if this woman were to ask her what Mary's protaganist asks of the wife in Mary's novel, she would wish the woman dead and hang on to her husband at all costs. At that moment, Woodruf bursts into the bedroom calling to Mary, and his relationship to both Mary and Clare is revealed. Stricken, Clare asks Woodruf to choose between the two of them, but a chagrined Woodruf refuses to comply. In disgust, Clare tells Mary that she is willing to give up Woodruf after all and prepares to leave the house. Later, Woodruf confesses to Mary that his intentions toward her are not as serious as she has perceived them and tries to make up with his wife. After Clare tells Woodruf that she no longer loves him and leaves, Jimmie counsels his rival to go after his wife and find a way back into her heart. Then, while a bemused Bridget tries to make sense of the evening's goings-on, Jimmie consoles a heartbroken but wiser Mary with his love-filled jokes. 

Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (Loew's, Inc.)
Production Text: A Cosmopolitan Production
Distribution Company: Loew's Inc.  
Director: Harry Beaumont (Dir)
  Sandy Roth (Asst dir)
  Robert Z. Leonard (Dir of retakes)
Producer: Lawrence Weingarten (Assoc prod)
Writer: John Meehan (Scr)
  Leon Gordon (Scr)
Photography: Ray June (Photog)
  Lester White (2d cam)
  Harry Parkins (Asst cam)
  Wilbur Bradley (Asst cam)
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons (Art dir)
Film Editor: Hugh Wynn (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Edwin Willis (Int dec)
  Howard Bristol (Int dec)
Costumes: Adrian (Gowns)
Sound: Douglas Shearer (Rec dir)
  Anstruther MacDonald (Mixer)
Country: United States

Music:
Songs:
Source Text: Based on the play When Ladies Meet by Rachel Crothers (New York, 6 Oct 1932), as produced by John Golden, Inc.
Authors: John Golden Inc.
  Rachel Crothers

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Metro Goldwyn Mayer Corp. 9/6/1933 dd/mm/yyyy LP3981 Yes

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Sound System

 
Genre: Comedy-drama
 
Subjects (Major): Hoaxes
  Impersonation and imposture
  Infidelity
  Marriage
  Novelists
  Romantic rivalry
 
Subjects (Minor): Drunkenness
  Gigolos
  Golf and golfers
  New York City
  Proposals (Marital)
  Publishers and publishing
  Reporters
  Storms
  Widows

Note: FD lists Basil Wrangell as the film's editor, but this credit is probably an error. The film received a "Best Art Direction" Academy Award nomination at the 1932-33 ceremonies. The title on the viewed print of this film was Strange Skirts . In 1941, Robert Z. Leonard directed Joan Crawford, Robert Taylor and Greer Garson in an M-G-M remake of Rachel Crothers' story. Apparently M-G-M changed the title of the 1933 film to Strange Skirts to avoid confusion with its own remake. On 11 Jun 1952, a third version of Crothers' play, directed by Alex Segal and starring Patricia Morison and Richard Carlson, was broadcast on the ABC television network. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Film Daily   24 Jun 33   p. 7.
HF   25 Mar 33   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   19 May 33   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   8 May 33   p. 3.
International Photographer   1 Apr 33   p. 21.
International Photographer   1 May 33   p. 24.
Motion Picture Daily   24 Jun 33   p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald   3 Jun 33   p. 36.
New York Times   24 Jun 33   p. 16.
Variety   27 Jun 33   p. 14.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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